School and Life Balance | GUTS Tip

The pressure to succeed in higher education when classes require large amounts of work and time commitment can be daunting and difficult to manage. Although academics takes a large priority in the lives of college students, it should not consume all of your time and effort. Finding a balance between school/academics and your personal life is essential in remaining successful, motivated, and happy.

How can we improve our school and personal life balance?

Manage your time. Know how much time must be devoted to each class and create a consistent schedule so you know when you need to focus on academics and when you can focus on yourself or engage in hobbies and extracurriculars. Try and veer away from large blocks of academic time and of personal time but integrate them each day so there is a healthy mix. The mix between free time and school time gives you an opportunity to recharge between working/studying sessions, as well as gives you flexibility to make zoom calls with friends, exercise, watch your favorite show, or otherwise.

We have a great resource called the Weekly Calendar found on our resources page. You can also download it here:

Weekly Calendar


Change your perspective. Sometimes we may choose to strive for perfection rather than high achievement. As this quote puts it:

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

This is very true. Striving for perfection is never attainable and trying to do so in your courses is an unrealistic expectation. Do your best and set high achieving goals that are attainable. Do not work to be perfect and thus devote unnecessarily large amounts of time towards academics. Rather have a holistic approach of improving all areas of yourself: academics, social life, mental health, emotional wellbeing, etc. Keep in mind, while we may be here and are paying for these courses, academics is not your entire life and there as so much more outside of the classroom that are just as important. Explore State Street, try some Wisconsin cheese curds, join a club, volunteer with GUTS and help other people. Be aware of the experiences and opportunities you have outside of class and take advantage of them.

Focus on the now. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing at a moment in time should take all of your attention. Live in the moment. When you are on a Zoom call with friends or at a club meeting, be active and engaged and enjoy that time rather than be concerned about the tasks waiting for you when you are done or what you could be doing instead.

Know to say “No”. It can become pretty easy to take on more responsibilities you can handle. If there is something you do not want to do or that will take away from another priority you have, do not do it. It’ll be okay. Sure, it is great to take on challenges for yourself and take advantage of opportunities, but if you become so busy you cannot take time for yourself or you are hindered in other areas (poorer grades, distancing relationships) then there is an imbalance. Take on what you can handle, but not in excess.

Written by Cole Navin

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*This is an opinion post. While the topics described here are mostly based on research, please keep in mind not to assume all of the information described above is factual.

Content adapted from:,critical%20to%20optimal%20academic%20functioning.

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Receive support in creating a healthy school/life balance from one of our Study Skills Specialists. Learn more here: