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College: How to Balance Life

Updated on August 7, 2012

How to be Successful in College

Being successful in college is a driving force that motivates and inspires students from all walks of life to achieve greatness both inside and outside of the classroom. One must be devoted to their cause with utmost attention, eyes never faltering from their goal. Success in college requires a balance of personal agendas and studies, pitting our limited supply of free time in a free-for-all against an ever growing amount of mandatory work, and our insatiable desire for rest and relaxation. Our responsibilities grows as time passes on; the free-for-all will eventually morph into one chaotic, seemingly inseparable bond making it difficult to discern and divide our responsibilities into individual tasks that each require much attention. For most of us a majority of our time is already devoted to a part or full time job. Some have children or are the head of a large household. Then, there are the lucky few who have much free time, and would rather spend evenings window shopping in crowded malls with school buddies, rocking out with their small bands in dimly lit garages, or aimlessly roam about the downtown scenery until something bright, shiny, or loud grabs their attention like a moth to a flame. Regardless of how little or how much time you have or how difficult it many seem to devote a portion of your life to the demanding effort college requires, there are many ways of managing the balance between your studies and personal agendas in order to be successful in college.

Life is work and from the moment you are old enough to hold a job you will most likely continue to work until you die. Financial responsibilities will eventually become the most, if not, one of your top priorities. Rent, car payments, groceries -the essential utilities we all have to pay into in order to live. We even throw into our already growing expenses with non-essential desirable; adding the latest fashion trend to your wardrobe, owning the newest bloodiest action-packed game, and even owning that cell phone with internet connection that doubles as a pancake maker- we must have it all. Whether or not they are essential to everyday living, much time working is needed to acquire the income to support your lifestyle. With college in on hand and work in the other, finding time for both can be difficult but not impossible to achieve.

You can begin by organizing the time and days you work with your school schedule into a manageable time table. Knowing how much time is required at school and work will give clarity to your options on how to manage both of them efficiently and effectively. If you have work every day in the mornings talk to your counselor about taking evening classes. If you work long hours with little time for school on workdays, take classes on your days off. There is no need to overexert yourself with piling studies and work all in one day.

Time is money and with more money brings with it more time. Ask your boss for a raise, and it might seem unlikely given the economy or your position, but the gain is well worth the effort. For those who can afford a more humble lifestyle by cutting back on your luxuries, going from a full-time position to a part-time job will give you more time to study. And for those who can really afford it, not having a job, and being a full time student is the best scenario for someone who wishes to place all their attention on their studies. Overall, work is essential to everyday life and finding our already limited time for school can be difficult. In this world money is power, and with power comes great responsibilities.

Many people would agree that the most important thing in this world is family. Making sure your family is well fed, clothed, and housed is what matters most. Giving them all that they need to live happily and then some. Maintaining a household requires an enormous amount of work. Imagine waking up every morning at the crack of dawn in order to get your kid ready for school. You begin by preparing his breakfast, giving him his clothes for school, cleaning the dishes, getting his backpack ready with all of his homework, pencils, papers, markers, crayons-everything needed for school. Then getting him into the car, and competing against a hundred thousand crazy people all rushing in your same direction all in less than an hour, multiplied by four kids and in many cases subtracting a spouse. Your life is no longer your own and your child's life is now your life. Now imagine adding college to this bubbling chaotic concoction. Though seemingly impossible, one can maintain a household and go to college. It requires a lot of creativity, effort, and a little luck.

Having a reliable person to watch your children while you are at school is a great method. Daycares, nannies, and baby-sisters are willing to watch your noisy sticky kids if the price is right. For those who can't afford it your spouse, a neighbor, relatives, and ever your teenager who doesn't mind helping a loved on is an expense free alternative. If you don't know anyone and can not afford child supervision, you can always look into the college for childcare. Most colleges have a daycare program for students with very little to no cost for child supervision. If your child goes to school in the mornings, set your classes at the same time, and allow yourself to get out when school is over for him. Now having found time for school, finding the time to study can be more problematic. You can always extend daycare time, pay a babysitter for an extra hour, or have a spouse, or older child look after your kids while you study. You can wait until they fall asleep or while they are in school. You can even, if your kids are willing, set up study-play time meaning while you study they can read or do their work and then take short breaks to play. Keeping up with your house and kids while going to college and studying can be done, but it require a lot of effort and creativity.

If you managed to balance family and work with college, you still have your studies, which for many people can be more difficult than the latter combined. College is very different from high school. You no longer have buzzing bells to remind you that class is about to start. Teachers no longer force you to do your homework or study. You can come and go as you please without permission during class- most of the time, and you might get a dirty look from some of the stricter teachers. You are free to leave the campus and come back at any time without an army of school faculty members, police, dogs, helicopters, and a tank or two coming after you. There are very few limitations placed upon you which might be a great thing for some. Unfortunately, this invites procrastination and laziness, which we all suffer from.

For those who manage to find the classroom the problem is studying for four or more classes, which can be cumbersome. The best way to study is to set up days dedicated to learning the material. If you have four classes in one day every other day, study for two classes after school and save the rest for you day off. If the material is difficult and requires additional time to learn, you can form study groups with classmates, or find a smart reliable student to help break down the material with you. Teachers have open office hours dedicated to helping students. Some will even let you email and call them in the middle of the night with your important questions. Tutors are willing to help you with your studies if the price is right. Colleges have an abundant mount resources at your disposal to help you comprehend your studies. Anyone can learn the material given to them if they are willing to put the time and effort needed to do well in class.

Life is filled with an endless amount of responsibilities that grow larger everyday. Once you tackle down one obligation another task will eagerly replace it. Life with college is all about balancing your responsibilities. Figuring out how to manage the long hours at work with preparing dinner for the kids, and then finding the strength and attention to study your lecture notes is a worthy challenge. For those willing to put down the effort needed to take care of work, family, and studies, being successful in college is a real possibility that many have achieved.


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