One of the most challenging aspects of the college experience is striking the right balance between your studies and social life. Properly managing your time allows you to get the most out of studying in the United States, focusing on academics when necessary, while also providing breaks to refresh and recharge with new friends. Learning to balance work and play is also a valuable skill that you will need long after you earn your degree. Here are some helpful tips for a successful year:
Budget your Time
Just as you budget expenses such as rent, food and entertainment, budgeting your time can help you plan your days to find time for studying and socializing with new friends. You might even realize you have more free time than you thought for extracurricular activities! Keep in mind that your time budget should allow for flexibility—there is no guarantee that your homework will take exactly eight hours or that you won’t want to spend just a little extra time with your friends during the week.
Set Actionable Goals
Setting goals will give you a direction and destination for your academic and social life. This will help you control how you spend your time and identify priorities throughout the year. For example, one goal could be to meet one new friend per semester. Another could be to complete all your necessary reading for the week by Sunday. You will feel a sense of accomplishment as you start checking off goals from your list. Be sure to celebrate each time you reach a goal, such as treating yourself to ice cream or purchasing a new piece of clothing from your favorite fashion app.
It’s Okay to Say No
Saying “no” can be a challenge, but it is even tougher when you are an international student trying to settle in to your new university. It is good to make time in your schedule to socialize or attend events with new friends, but you shouldn’t feel guilty declining an invitation to go out if you just need a break or some extra study time.
Maintain Good Health
When you feel healthy and energized, you will be able to make the most of your time studying abroad. Getting the right amount of sleep for your body is crucial in college. This involves more than just having a comfortable mattress. Doctors recommend sleeping between 7-9 hours per night to be fully functional and focused the next day. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be irritable and less likely to be alert. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Keeping your body on a regular schedule means you’ll have an easier time getting to sleep and waking up ready to tackle all the tasks ahead. Maintaining a healthy diet is also essential to staying healthy, especially during the winter months.
Attending school in a new country can be stressful, so finding the right balance between getting your work done and having fun can help ease some of the anxiety. Apply these tips to your daily routine to help you get and stay on the right track for a successful year!