Are you a Nigerian student who finds it difficult balancing academic and personal life? No matter how early you wake up or late you sleep, the time just seems never to be enough. You find yourself defaulting in some assignments despite how serious you are with your academics. You suddenly don’t have time for friends or social outings anymore.
Don’t worry; every university student has been through these, especially in their first year. I used to be terrible at time management until recently when I noticed how stressful it is to carry out my activities without a plan. There’s no way you won’t go through stress at the university, especially in a country like Nigeria, where living comes with many challenges. But you can properly handle the stress to prevent you from breaking down. If you can learn how to effectively manage your time balancing school and personal life in your first year, scaling through your latter years would be easier and less stressful. This article will help you balance study, work and personal life.
How to Balance your Academic and Personal Life as a Nigerian Student
This is the first step to knowing how to balance work, study and personal life. It is important to have clear goals and objectives during our time at the university, and we must achieve them to live a successful life. Setting goals allows you to set priorities and learn how to manage your time effectively.
While setting goals, you must consider what you want to achieve and then commit to it. You should set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals. You can even set goals daily or weekly. Completing all your daily tasks can also be one of your goals. You should always set deadlines for your goals and reward yourself after completion. This helps in knowing how to balance work, study and personal life.
Plan a schedule
This is a crucial step in balancing work, study and personal life. This is a very effective method for managing your time as it involves allocating time for each duty you want to carry out for the day. Planning and defining moments for each task you do is so important. When you have multiple tasks to do, it can be hard to decide how to carry them all out properly.
Hence, the need for a timetable. You should prioritise your tasks and start with the most important ones. It is good to also consider deadlines for each task when planning your schedule as this helps to know the ones to start with first. You can also plan time to study, hang out with friends and even go to church. Adhering to your schedule will help in balancing your academic and personal life.
Do not procrastinate
This is one of the easiest yet hardest-to-follow steps in balancing school and personal life. It’s funny, I know. A lot of University students struggle with procrastination. Most times, you feel it’s just a little task and can always complete it another time, but it doesn’t work like that. Procrastination often leads to increased stress and anxiety, and most times, making mistakes while rushing to finish tasks you failed to do at the right time.
This generally leads to low academic performance. Any decision to leave all of your assignments for another time closer to the deadline will only help accumulate work that you will end up not having enough time to do. You need to note that it’s not only academic tasks you shouldn’t procrastinate. You shouldn’t procrastinate even other tasks like doing your laundry or cooking because this later leads to taking more time and being stressed. So avoiding procrastination helps to balance academic and personal life.
- Coordinate your free time with your friends
Balancing academic and personal life feels exhausting sometimes. Most Nigerian students feel that with the overbearing workload of the university, there is barely time for friends. But this doesn’t seem right. As thriving in academics is important, so is communicating with others and maintaining good relationships with friends. This is why we need to know how to manage time and find time for other activities.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be going to parties together. It can be like a small hangout with your colleagues where you discuss lectures you’ve been taught during the week, ask questions and also catch up on what you’ve missed in each other lives by gisting. This is a good way of relaxing as it prevents mental stress from reading too much. And at the same time, you’re having academic discussions, so you aren’t wasting your time. This helps in balancing academic and personal life as a student.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Your physical and emotional well-being plays a major role in balancing academic and personal life. Making time for study, work, family, and friends is important, but you must also ensure you have time to look after yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep each night, exercise once in a while, and eat well.
It would be best if you didn’t let your academics and work-life interfere with your sleeping and eating habits, as this can lead to physical breakdown. It would be best if you always made time for yourself. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help alleviate stress and balance work, study and personal life.
With multiple tasks, a handful of projects to complete, programs to attend, family to check up on and looking after your health, it all seems impossible to do. You just don’t know how to balance work, study and personal life. Sometimes, you need little motivation to achieve all these goals. You always have to encourage yourselves, and even when you make mistakes, try not to let them define you but make you do better next time. If you believe in yourself and put effort into it, anything is possible.
It would help if you always practised positive self-talk to avoid mental stress and ease tension. You can even adopt a daily mantra, something as little as saying, “I am smart and diligent. I can achieve anything I put my mind to,” counts. You might think this doesn’t work, but reciting this mantra when you feel tired and down lifts your mood and gives you positive energy to complete your tasks. Self-motivation plays a key role in balancing academic and personal life.
Avoid too much stress
Stress keeps you focused and aware of everything that needs to be done. It motivates you to study more and complete projects on time, but when stress level becomes more than a motivating tool, you need to watch it. You have to know your limits. When you have too much on your plate and struggle to balance work, study and personal life, you must consider dropping some optional activities. Not knowing the right way to study also increases stress. You should know the kind of reading system that works better for you and adopt it.
I always compared myself with my friends and forced myself to read for long hours overnight. No matter how hard I read, it was just difficult to assimilate some courses quickly, and I ended up being more stressed and deprived of sleep after wasting time. Then, I discovered I am a morning person and had to make another reading plan. I woke up in the early morning to read difficult courses like zoology while I went through what I learnt during the day or solve calculation courses at night. This way, I was able to read smart(not read hard) and save time to thrive in my academics. This helps in balancing your academic and personal life.
Learn to Say “No” Sometimes
Balancing your school and personal life requires you to say “no” to certain things. There are some parties and outings with friends you can miss, and there will always be plenty of parties to attend during the break. Sometimes, you need to say no to helping a friend, especially when it isn’t convenient with your schedule.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hang out with friends but don’t do this to the detriment of your studies, especially when your friend isn’t in your department but in one with lesser work and projects to do. When free, you can surely hang out with friends and family or even volunteer to help. It’s all about being wise to knowing how to balance work, study and personal life.
Have A Support System
There are people, friends or family, who are ready to invest in your success. Adulthood requires you to ask for help, feel confident to ask for help when you need it. You can have friends who are knowledgeable in specific fields of study, they can tutor you on things you don’t understand. Your family can also be your support system for your personal life, they can help you manage your life issue. This way you are able to balance your academics and personal life.
Discipline and Determination
Balancing school and personal life is about knowing how to do the right thing at the right time. Yes, I know there’s always a lot to do, and the time never seems enough, but don’t use that as an excuse to fail to perform a duty. Read when you’re meant to and rest when you’re meant to.
I always found it difficult to manage my time, but I later noticed it was because of my lack of discipline. I spent too much time with my roommates after classes when I was meant to be doing something else. I then became determined not to allow any distractions to disturb me from knowing how to balance work, study and personal life.
How does balancing school and personal life impact your academics?
Balancing school and personal life is important for optimal academic functioning. However, students often prioritise academics at the expense of personal factors, including relationships. This can lead to a decline in academic performance, as general health and well-being are critical to ensure functioning well in your academics.
How does balancing school and personal life impact relationships?
A 100% focus on academics can cause strife in personal relationships, minimising your sense of support. Moreover, when you spend too much time reading and hardly socialise, you tend not to know how to interact with people or express yourself, and this gradually leads to low self-esteem, which is detrimental to your health. Hence, balancing school and personal life is important.
Time is a very important resource in life, so you must manage your time wisely. It is hard to balance work, study and personal life, but rewarding.
With the points above, you can effectively balance your academic and personal life if you follow them consistently. I know it isn’t easy, but it’s a gradual process, and with time, you’ll get used to it. So, make that change and become a better person. I am rooting for you!
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- I'm a part 2 pharmacy student of OAU. I'm a Christian. I love to read and write. Creating stories in my head is my best hobby. I'm always willing to learn and friendly. I joined this community to be a better person.