College is Tough, But So Are You

By Myranda Lockwood

Life as a college student is infused with intense studies and a rigorous course load; it can often feel like it is nearly impossible to find time for yourself while also attempting to do well. 

However, it is vitally important for students to find time to do things that benefit the mind and body, outside of study hours. 

  In a scientific study published by a health psychologist at the University of California, Matthew Zawadski said, “multilevel models revealed that participants had more positive and less negative mood, more interest, less stress, and lower heart rate when engaging in leisure than when not.”

To put it plainly, a scientific correlation can be found between students who enjoy more leisure time and those who find less stress and negativity in everyday life. 

But finding a balance can be hard: there are times when the amount of work that is in your peripheral vision can become utterly consuming, however, it is in those times that breaks, and stress relievers are potentially needed the most. 

“I’m not saying don’t study,” said Carly Frary, an undergraduate physical therapy student, “but if you’re constantly studying, no sleep, no time for yourself, for a whole semester, you won’t be okay.

Frary emphasized that no matter the course load, it is extremely important to find that balanced, healthy lifestyle.

 “If you can’t be out for hours, just watch a movie, do self-care, or simply go to the dining hall and have a conversation instead of inhaling your food to get straight back to studying,” Frary said.

While college is demanding regardless of what year or major you find yourself in, it can be increasingly difficult to find time for leisure while being a graduate student as classes become more demanding, workload increases, and schedules become crammed.

Evelyn Thompson, a graduate physician assistant, said, “Although my days are usually packed with classes and studying, it is still important to take some time for myself. If you’re constantly studying and not giving yourself free time, it’s going to come back to bite you in the butt.”

Thompson emphasized the importance of prioritizing your mental health and well-being, regardless of your busy work-oriented schedule. 

Thompson acknowledged spending upward of 30 to 50 hours studying per week, so if she can find time for some leisure, anyone can.

Both women stressed the importance of planning; they have both found great value in creating to-do lists for the week, including all its embedded assignments and study hours.

“I recommend having a planner, or for me, I have a sticky note and everything on that sticky note should be done by the end of the week, ideally then I should have the weekend off,” Frary said.

Frary said you can “map out the days” to ensure you are getting everything done in an efficient and timely manner and then hopefully you should have a day, or time, over the weekend for yourself. 

“Ideally, you really should have Sunday off to have fun, watch games or get groceries,” Frary said.

Thompson also recommended to “plan your day out hour by hour so you know what you need to do and where you need to be, so you don’t spend too much time watching TV or too much time studying.” 

“Little goals help too; I like looking at a list and checking things off to make me feel accomplished,” Thompson added.

Either way, if you’re using a planner, jotting down your day on a sticky note, or mapping your day hour by hour on a whiteboard in your room, the options are endless as to how you can plan your time in alliance with your school and daily life schedule. 

This way, alongside your hours of studying, you can pencil in a little “me-time” to keep you chugging along.

  Overall, college is a time of extreme personal and academic growth. 

While the roots of academic growth are nourished by your professors and studies, the roots of personal growth are ones that can only be watered by yourself. 

Taking time for yourself and doing things that make your heart happy to be alive is important for finding solace in times of studious chaos. 

 “There’s more to life than waking up, eating, and doing school; take a break and breathe, then just go live a little!” Frary said. 

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