For a lot of us, if not most of us students, academic achievement represents a large part of our all lives. Academia: going to classes, and studying can overwhelm us to such an extent that we tend to neglect and overlook other aspects of our lives. Some students do it due to their inability to manage and handle academic stress. Others, do it due to their perfectionist tendencies and will to perform to the best of their abilities.
While education is important to our foundation as citizens, most students do not realize that pursuing other non-academic hobbies and taking care of one’s physical and mental health is essential. Sports or social activities have proven to improve quality of life, and even add value to our studies and ability to perform well.
We’ve all struggled to balance the work-study-hobby life, and despite all the theoretical advice we were given, it hasn’t always been easy to apply them in practice. Thus, here is some abstract (aka as realistic) advice that can help you kickstart your “balance” journey as a student who struggles to manage their life and their academic goals.
Be Honest with Yourself
While you should always pursue your dreams, be honest with what you can realistically manage as a student. Can you learn an instrument, work five shifts a week and play a sport on top of it all? Try to review your priorities and set a realistic rhythm for yourself. It is better to stick to one hobby, rather than struggle to manage all six of them. Setting unrealistic goals can damage one’s self-esteem, as you’ll beat yourself up when you find yourself unable to sustain the intense rhythm you’ve put in place.
Perfectionism is Counterproductive
It is natural to want to do our best and perform well. Though, some of us do it to such an extreme, that it can work against us. We end up sacrificing social activities, for 2 hours of ineffective work. How many of us ended up scrolling on Instagram, when we could have been out having lunch with our family and friends? Realizing that perfection is unattainable is key to having a healthy relationship with your work. Also, doing something else can sometimes leave us more refreshed and focused when we come back to it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, TALK! While stress can be a good motivator, an unhealthy amount of stress can lead to feeling stuck in a rut of guilt and shame. Reach out to anyone that you trust at school or in your circle, as they can help you come out of it, and find solutions tailored to your problems.
Some TED talks would help you stay motivated -and if you want to read a whole piece about how to deal with academic burnout, here you GO!
Written by: Zein Belail