I’ve struggled my fair share with balancing schoolwork, relaxation and socialization. Erring on the side of schoolwork can be not only lonely and exhausting but also disrespectful to one’s friends, but putting relaxation first often times leads to disappointment in academic work. This semester I’m doing the best I ever have at finding balance, and I want to try to put into words the skills and strategies I use to accomplish this equilibrium.
The first and most important piece of advice is something a philosophy teacher brought to my attention last semester: “Don’t work hard to play hard.” We succumb too easily to the mentality that we work through the week as a punishment in order to receive our reward: free time on the weekend. This is a damaging mentality because it makes students see their studies as means to the end of a weekend of pleasure. If we can somehow find pleasure, find play and imagination, in the work we do, we see it in a more positive light. Every day of schoolwork is not sheer torture, but is (dare I say?) fun. When I take classes that I enjoy when I allow the material to apply to my life, I work hard and play hard at the same time.
A second strategy I use to add relaxation and socialization into my days is utilizing meal times as social gatherings. Eating with my friends is a great way to catch up with them without using up time I would have used for homework or studying.
Lastly, I think it’s very important to have a planner or another type of scheduling device where I can actually write out and keep track of how much time I spend working and not working. That way, I’m not tempted to try to multitask work with friends or work while watching netflix (both of which are never successful enterprises).