OPINION: 4 ways to balance your life as finals week approaches

Corinne Rolfs, senior in management, and Cole Bieker, sophomore in horticulture, study for finals in December 2018. Spring semester finals are coming up quickly. (John Chapple | Collegian Media Group)

As I entered my freshman year, I was always told that junior year would be the most overwhelming year of college, but that seemed nearly impossible to me.

As an out-of-state student, I was certain freshman year would be my most difficult one because of the heavy course load and adjusting to life in a new state. Freshman year consisted of hours of general education classes, countless mandatory floor meetings in the residence halls and the occasional visit to the Varsity Truck for late-night food with friends.

Now, as a junior who is enrolled in seven classes, working three jobs and completing an unpaid internship, I agree: junior year is overwhelming.

It seems like life has become a habitual schedule of school, work, internship, repeat. Weekends are no longer times to sleep in. Now, they are time to get a head start on class work and attempt to socialize before the dreaded Monday arrives.

I’m not the only one with this kind of schedule, and it is easy to become consumed and overwhelmed. However, there’s a better way.

Here are four ways you can cut through the crazy, garner some calm and manage this hectic thing called college.

1. Use a planner

This may seem simple, but it is often overlooked. I highly encourage students to use a planner to write down their classes, assignments, work schedules and more.

Not only does the planner allow you to see your schedules, but it also allows you to see when you have time to have fun and do activities that you enjoy. Using a planner may seem overwhelming at first to see everything written down, but in the long run, it’s helpful.

If you are someone who likes to have it even more structured, I encourage you to color coordinate your planner by classes, work, meetings and whatever else your schedule looks like.

2. Spend time with friends and family

This one may seem a bit more difficult for some. With your busy schedules, you may be wondering, “How do I have time for friends and family if I am already busy?”

I’m stressing this point because I truly believe time with loved ones helps you de-stress when life is overly hectic.

Some of you may be saying, “I hang out with friends already,” but look at that time and ask yourself if you’re truly being intentional with those friends when you are with them. Are you really present, or trying to finish a paper while half-listening to the conversation?

Clearing time with friends and family helps clear your head and allows you time to have interactions outside of school and work. Be fully present and intentional with your friends and family. Talking to friends during homework or a quick text to the parents are fine sometimes, but it’s important to set aside specific, designated times to be with friends to enjoy their company and escape the world of school.

3. A day of rest

You now have your new planner and designated time for friends and family, but what’s next? A day of rest.

This one sometimes is the hardest; fully resting and relaxing is more difficult than it sounds. Oftentimes, we are so busy focusing on school, work or future plans that we often forget to embrace the now.

A day of rest may consist of walking through the Konza Prairie, hammocking or even binge-watching Netflix shows with a box of pizza and some close friends. Whatever you choose, make this day of rest something that makes you happy so you don’t worry about your other responsibilities.

Between the craziness of classes, work, interning and planning for the future, these tips allow me to enjoy my time during college. I know it is important to excel in college and land your dream job, but it is also important to understand that those things can still happen while utilizing these tips.

The last tip I have for the hectic student is a bit more simple.

4. Have fun

Every student who graduates on time with a bachelor’s degree is given four years to be in college. Four years to cheer on the Wildcats as we are surrounded by our friends in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Four years to have random dance parties with our roommates at 2 a.m. Four years to watch the sunrise at the Konza, and maybe even watch the sunset later.

Four years of endless possibilities. We are given this time to grow as adults and learn about ourselves.

So yes, I know you think you are so busy that you can’t balance your life and you have no free time, but I assure you that you do. Grab a book, take a bike ride and enjoy college — you only have this opportunity once.

Monica Diaz is a social media editor for the Collegian and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

I'm Monica Diaz and I graduated in May 2020 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. I severed in several roles while working for the Collegian, but most of my work focused on rebuilding the Collegian digital brand with an increased social media presence. I also worked on KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day in my last semester on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and spending time with family. I have a passion for journalism because I believe that everyone deserves to have their voice heard.