Ask Cassandra: Balancing Beginner

Cassandra Hagen, contributor

Dear Cassandra,

How do you balance work, school, and friends, while still maintaining sanity??? Please, I’m dying over here. My back hurts, and my brain is empty.


Balancing Beginner

Dear Balancing Beginner, 

With school just starting and a myriad of things to worry about, striking a balance in your life can feel difficult, if not impossible. However, not all is lost! Here are some tips that have helped me in the pursuit of a healthy school-life balance. 

Take things one step at a time. When looking at everything you have to do at once, things can feel overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to! Sometimes stopping and taking the time to break things into more achievable short-term goals can help alleviate how overwhelming everything feels. Rather than looking at schoolwork as a conglomeration of homework, break it down by classes and individual assignments. Applying this to other areas of your life can help things feel more manageable. 

Make a schedule. When you have a busy schedule, it’s necessary to plan out your days or weeks. It can certainly help you to get a better picture of what you need to do each day. By blocking out your schedule in a planner, on a calendar or even on your phone, you get a clearer idea of how much time you have between your obligations to hang out with your friends or take some time for yourself!

Set your priorities. My best advice for when things feel overwhelming is to decide what things are most important to you and what needs to be done first. This sometimes means doing classwork over visiting your friends or family. It may look different from day to day or week to week. There will be moments where you have more free time than others, and that’s more than okay! What’s most important should be at the top of your list of things to get done, and often tackling the difficult tasks first can help reduce the stress of a busy schedule. 

Use your support system. Who’s your support system? Anyone significant in your life that’s in the network of people you surround yourself with. When dealing with a lot, it can be helpful to go to those around you, whether it be for help, someone to talk to or just someone to be around. Remember, despite all the responsibilities you may have, you’re not in this alone! The people around you can often be a much-needed source of motivation. 

Make sure to get enough rest. While sleep can seem like a negotiable piece of your schedule, it is imperative that you have enough energy to tackle your busy days. Make sure to get around seven or eight hours of sleep each night.  

Most importantly, take care of yourself. When you have a busy schedule, take time for yourself and prioritize self-care. Although it may sound counterintuitive, making time for yourself can help prevent stress or potential burnout and make things seem just a little easier. Try blocking out some time each day to focus on some hobbies you love. Go for a walk, or even just relax and watch some Netflix – anything that can be a break from the rest of your busy day. 

Incorporating some of these tips in your day to day life can help alleviate the stress of having to organize your various responsibilities. I hope this advice can help you balance your life better. However, always remember that while school and work are important, you come first. Make sure to take care of yourself through everything.  

Hoping you can maintain your sanity,