Your October Welcome Crew mentor tip: ‘Your well-being is as important as your studies’
Roksana Sheikholmolouki is an undergrad student in cell and molecular biology and a Concordia Welcome Crew mentor with the Student Success Centre.
Many of us, regardless of whether we're a part-time or a full-time student, have a busy schedule and need to take care of many things apart from our studies.
All of these responsibilities can become overwhelming, so knowing how to achieve a school-life balance not only increases our performance, but also helps our mental and physical health.
It is important to know that our mental and physical health is as important as our studies. Feeling blue, not having a good night sleep or not eating well can all affect our academic performances. It is only with taking care of ourselves that we can take care of our other responsibilities. Here are my five tips for achieving a school-life balance:
1. Plan ahead
Achieving a school-life balance is easier when using a planner! You can use the calendar apps on your cellphone, your student agenda or a term planner to track all your classes, assignment deadlines and important appointments. This way, you will get a sense of what exactly needs to be done and how much time you have left for your personal plans.
I always use the calendar application on my cellphone/laptop for my work schedules, assignments and important meetings and then use my student agenda for a daily to-do list. You can come up with any other methods that works best for you as long as there is a plan.
2. Prioritize your tasks
Make a list of what is important to you and what needs to be done first. Each person’s priorities vary depending on factors such as deadlines or life goals. Setting your priorities also helps you to know how much energy is needed to put into each task.
If a pile of tasks that needs to be done is scaring you, make sure to divide them into smaller tasks. Getting smaller tasks done will motivate you to continue with the rest.
Be aware of procrastination! You can spend hours on an important task that you have planned and that is your top priority, but nothing will come out of it if you're not focused. If you finish your work efficiently and on time, then you will have more time to enjoy leisurely activities later! So, as tempting as it may be, put the phone away and close that Netflix tab.
3. Plan your free time
Knowing when you will be free will allow you to plan your free time. Your hobbies and passions keep you going throughout the year and make you an interesting person. They are your escape from all the stress and pressures of your studies. So, always try to find time for them and pursue them. Some of my hobbies are learning languages, practicing tennis and visiting art museums.
There are also plenty of associations and clubs at Concordia that you can check out in your free time and attend their events. Clubs and associations can help you to find new friends and gain valuable experiences.
4. Know your limits
Don’t make your schedule too busy or too packed. Having too many activities and plans on your schedule will just add to your stress, and chances are, you will not be able to give your 100% to them. It’s better to do one thing and do it perfectly, rather than having multiple commitments and ending up feeling overwhelmed.
5. Ask for help
If at any point, you feel that you need support, do not be shy to ask for it. There are various free resources available for you at the university that you can take advantage of, such as meeting with a Learning Specialist for tips on time management and preparing for exams.
Finally, keep in mind that just because I wrote this article doesn't mean that I have everything figured out myself! Achieving the ideal study-life balance is an everyday challenge for me, as well and I keep repeating these tips to myself, too. As long as you are doing the best you can, not giving up and striving to do better, then you are doing just fine.
Find out more about Concordia’s Student Success Centre.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Former Welcome Crew mentor Hesham Abdelrahman contributed to this article.