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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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School or social life: You can have both!

Many students have had their experience at Case Western Reserve University taken over by rigorous academics. Managing this school’s challenging coursework and never-ending assignments can take a toll on one’s mental and physical health, especially for those transitioning from high school to college. This often leads to burnout and a gradual withdrawal from friends and family—both negatively impacting academic performance. Many of us know all too well that being consumed by school leads to a cycle of suffering, so taking time to socialize and just have fun can be a very good thing—research even shows that positive social experiences are necessary to excel academically.

Keeping this in mind, it’s important to recognize that most students do not want to forgo a social life for good grades. But finding the balance between school work and social fulfillment is a constant struggle. To ease this strain, I have listed tips to achieve the “work hard play hard” mentality that provides you the best of both worlds.

  1. Make a schedule 

The key to achieving balance in college is finding a routine. The best way to do this is by creating a schedule that takes into account all your commitments: classes, office hours and extracurriculars. Creating a schedule allows you to clearly identify times you are able to hang out with friends and family. It also helps to keep you accountable and ensures that you meet your deadlines while still having time to wind down.

  1. Learn when to say “no”

College is the perfect place to find new opportunities and new interests to explore. However, when taking on new activities and responsibilities, it is important to recognize when you are overcommitted, or close to it. I know the “grindset culture” that pervades CWRU’s community can be quite overwhelming, but doing too much too fast will only lead to increased stress. The best way to prevent this is by simply saying “no.” Turn down clubs you aren’t passionate about and be mindful of your credit load. Learning to prioritize can help you be fulfilled academically while still having time for yourself and others.

  1. Minimize distractions

When trying to get school work done, it is important to do so in an environment conducive to studying. Whether that means collaborating with friends, working alone in a library or listening to Spotify as you work, creating a space that gets you “in the zone” is important for productivity. One study found that college students study on average for 17 hours a week, so finding a work environment that encourages a better work ethic will allow you to complete assignments more efficiently and leave more time for a social life. When considering what this space should look like, it is important to keep comfort, lighting, noise and location in mind.

  1. Stay energized with exercise and good nutrition

Managing a social life and academics is taxing on the body, so fueling it with good nutrition and exercise is vital. Even if it’s just 30 minutes of exercise a couple times a week or trying a new healthy recipe each weekend, any steps you can take to improve your body physically will help you stay more energized. Thankfully, CWRU makes this easy by offering students access to several gyms—Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center and Veale Recreation Center—to use whenever they can squeeze a workout into their hectic schedules. In terms of nutrition, there are several sources on the internet for quick, college-friendly meals that are also healthy. These recipes can also be a fun way to explore new foods and improve your skills in the kitchen.

I hope these few tips will help you achieve a better balance in your college life, and encourage you to find time for socializing without sacrificing academics. In working on yourself, realize the transition to a balanced lifestyle is a slow one. So continue to revise your strategies, and eventually an active social life and academic excellence will be yours!

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About the Contributor
Shivangi Nanda
Shivangi Nanda, Executive Editor
Shivangi Nanda (she/her) is a third-year student majoring in cognitive science, with a minor in biology. When she isn’t writing, editing or thinking about The Observer, you can find her taking walks around campus, stress eating Mitchell’s before exam week or organizing her extensive sweatshirt collection. Owning her old soul, she spends weekends baking or visiting local bookstores in search of even more romance reads.

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