At The Harris School of Business, we understand the demands that are placed upon many of the students in our programs. Being a student while also attempting to work or even raise children can be a daunting task!
You may feel like you’re swimming in deadlines and to-do lists and, at times, barely getting enough sleep. In this article, we hope to provide you with some practical tips that may help you learn how to balance life and school more effectively.
When you are considering ways to manage your busy life and all of your responsibilities, there are several practical steps that you can take to organize and simplify your weekly routine.
Practical Advice for How to Balance Life and School
1. Stay Organized! When life gets busy, it is often organization that is the first thing to get put on the back burner. But the reality is that the less organized you are, the more overwhelming your schedule can feel. Start by keeping your school books and materials in one bag and only taking them out to work on in one certain location in your home. That will ensure that you don’t lose a book or an assignment. Some students also find it helpful to spend some time on Sunday evening planning out their upcoming week and making a priority list of things to accomplish for each day.
2. Communicate clearly with those around you! In the process of your weekly routine, there may be multiple people and jobs for which you are responsible. Keep your family and your boss/coworkers in the loop when it comes to your schedule. Since you will already be organized with a calendar for your upcoming week (step #1!), it may be a good idea to share that calendar with the necessary people. That way there are no surprises when Wednesday evening rolls around and you have class. Your boss will not have put you on the schedule (because he or she already had your calendar and knew you would be busy) and, if you have children, babysitting arrangements can be confirmed beforehand.
3. Learn stress prevention and management. Hopefully steps 1 and 2 will begin to actually relieve some of the stress you may have been experiencing previously. However, it is inevitable that certain times will arise when you may just feel overwhelmed. What you do to cope during those times is equally as important as you are learning how to balance life and school. Managing stress can be as simple as scheduling breaks into your weekly calendar, setting aside time for yourself to relax or setting goals with rewards (example: when you finish that big paper that’s due, you can treat yourself to a movie on Friday night)!
In addition to these practical tips for how to balance life and school, we also suggest that you plan to meet with the financial aid office at your school or program. Here at Harris, our financial aid advisors meet with students to review all of their possible grant and loan options. Sometimes finances are the primary cause of stress for students, so this can be a great step toward managing that aspect of your responsibilities. Similarly, many schools, like the Harris School, offer their students helpful Career Services offices that can assist with resume building, job searching and interview preparation. If part of your stress about life and school relates to finding a job when you complete your program, go see the staff at your Career Services office and find out how they can provide support and practical help!