Saturday, June 20, 2009

Balancing school with work and fun

Dear Mom:

How do I balance full-time work and school and still have a social life?

Sincerely,

So stressed I can hardly stand it


Dear Stressed:

I know just how you feel. No, I wasn't working, but one summer I was taking a three week anatomy and physiology class.

Okay, people warned me that it was going to be hard, and yes, I was told that the regular semester class was difficult, but I thought, "Three weeks and I'll be done! Anyone can handle three weeks!"

Every moment of my life was spent studying, sleeping or eating-okay, and peeing. There was not much time for anything else. I did have a column at the school paper, and the editing stuff I had to do, but truthfully? My plate was full. I'm glad it was only full for three weeks.

"What's normal?" you ask. Living a busy life, but not so busy that the most important things in life take the back seat; like friends, family and getting out and just having some fun. Sure, you won't be able to get out every night; that would be unrealistic, unless you don't care about getting good grades, and I am supposing you want good grades because of your question.

With that said let me suggest some pointers:

1. If you work full-time, cut down on your class load. If you're a brain, you might be able to handle it; if you're like the rest of us, it's truly not worth your insanity putting too much on your school plate.

2. On the other hand, you may be able to cut down a bit on your work hours. See what you can do to free up some more time for study and fun.

3. Balance your day with free time as much as possible. If you're studying becomes a five hour stint on Tuesday (your only day off) for example, try cutting it down to two and taking a half an hour break in-between. A half an hour in a full day will not hurt your grades and will give you that breather you need. Believe me, after awhile your brain shuts down anyway, so why not have some fun?

4. Have the courage to make changes when you know you are over your head. A friend of mine recently dropped a class because she knew she was quickly reaching her limit. Dropping a class doesn't mean you are dumb; just smart enough to take care of a potential problem before it becomes a real one.

5. Finally, remember you are in school, and with that comes sacrifice. When all is said and done, you will be spending less time with friends, family and all those fun events you wish you could go to until you have graduated. Fortunately, school doesn't last forever. I know it seems like it, but I also know that with a will comes a way, and the best way I know of to make the change from stress to success is to take an honest look at where you are now and what needs to happen to reach the finish line-in one piece.

Mom
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