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How to Balance Study and Life at University

September 2023



Article by Herman Barnes

Article by Herman Barnes

Northeastern's Human Services program graduate, Herman Barnes contributes to our blog pro bono. He sees his mission in helping students prepare for academic careers by providing them with experience and skill-based background required for successful studying and research.

Balancing academics and enjoying college life is a common challenge for university students. With some planning, time management, and self-care, you can excel at your studies while still having a fulfilling social experience and looking after your well-being. Here are practical tips for balancing study and life as a university student. Achieving a harmonious equilibrium between academic pursuits and personal life at the university requires adept time management and occasionally seeking the support of seasoned academic essay writers can provide the necessary breathing space.

Create a Weekly Schedule

Start by mapping out all your classes, work hours, club meetings, and other fixed commitments that keep you accountable. Schedule blocks of time for studying daily based on your daily productive hours. Assign specific tasks and goals for each study session. Schedule breaks and free time too.

Take Notes Efficiently

Don’t try to scribble down every word. Listen for key points and jot those down. Review slides and readings before class to focus on what’s being discussed. Compare notes with classmates after lectures to fill in gaps. Use digital tools like laptops and voice recorders to optimize note-taking.

Manage Your Assignments

Use a planner or app to track assignment due dates across all your courses. Schedule enough time to complete them without last-minute rushed work. Mark reminders a week and a day before due dates. Check for conflicts early and negotiate extensions if needed.

Tackle Tough Topics First

When studying, avoid procrastinating on the hardest or least enjoyable topics. Knock those out first when your concentration is highest to ensure you fully comprehend them. The satisfaction will motivate you through the rest of your study session.

Study in Chunks

Your brain best retains information studied in focused, short-time chunks versus marathon sessions. For optimal retention, study active topics you must apply for 25-30 minutes straight, then take a 5-minute break before switching subjects.

Find Your Study Crew

Create or join study groups with peers in your challenging courses. Pick a regular time to review materials, discuss concepts, and quiz each other. Teaching others reinforces your learning. Groups provide support, motivation, and accountability.

Know Your Learning Style

Everyone absorbs information differently. Figure out whether you learn best visually, by writing things down, through auditory repetition, or other methods. Tailor your study techniques to suit your style for better retention.

Quiz Yourself

Reinforce learning of key material by turning concepts into flashcards or practice quiz questions. Test yourself repeatedly over time versus cramming. Use digital quizzing games for a fun study break. For big exams, have friends quiz you.

Take Effective Notes

Don’t transcribe lectures word for word. Listen for key points and write those down legibly, and organized by topic. Review and edit your notes soon after class to fill in the gaps while the lecture is still fresh. Include relevant diagrams, formulas, and study cues.

Set School-Life Boundaries

Avoid letting academics dominate your whole life. Set firm rules around responding to emails or messages after certain evening hours so you can detach and enjoy downtime. Schedule social activities into your week so you have things to look forward to besides just classes.

Look After Yourself

Make your physical and mental well-being a priority. Follow a healthy diet, stay hydrated, exercise, and get adequate sleep to boost academic performance. Take time daily to decompress through activities like yoga, journaling, or hanging out with friends.

University can be intense, but with smart time management, self-care, and productivity strategies, you can stay on top of your studies while still enjoying the perks of college life. Maintain balance and perspective by remembering that grades are not everything – gaining knowledge, experiences, and relationships holds real long-term value.

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