Getting back into the groove of school, work and personal commitments can be hard — especially during the first week.
Adjusting to a new schedule while taking on workloads can seem overwhelming. Rachel Keske, a senior in music, said she took 18 credits her first semester without work and 20 credits second semester with a job during her freshman year.
“It was harder to maintain a ton of friends and you know sometimes you have to try some stuff out and it might not work and you figure out what works better for you going forward,” Keske said.
Keeping and maintaining a schedule can help with balancing school and work as well as taking on assignments in what is a manageable amount. Taking tasks and streamlining them to be productive can also help. Streamlining is a method to build efficiency for everyday tasks such as doing homework during breaks or packing a school bag the night before.
“I also am lucky enough to have a job on campus where I can do some homework while I’m working so that helps me [with balancing time],” said Sophie Phillips, a senior in music.
Using organizational tools such as planners and calendars to plan the day out can help students. Sura Smadi, a junior in kinesiology and health, said she uses bullet journals to organize her classes and school work.
“I have everything on my calendar – every single thing I have to do,” Smadi said. “I like to make checklists because that motivates me to get things done and after I take notes in a class, I take them home and rewrite them.”
Bullet journals are notebooks that can be a combination of a journal, planner and to-do lists that allow students to set up their tasks creatively.
“Schedule it out – if you have to go hour by hour then go hour by hour if that’s what it takes to get things done,” Smadi said.
Planning out times to socialize with friends and to take a “mental break” can also help students balance their schedules.
“I think it’s important to take mental health days and just let yourself have a break and regroup,” Smadi said. “I know for me I take time to clean my room and make sure everything is clean and organized because that helps me to stay not stressed.”
On days when the tasks feel overwhelming, students have advised to take mental health days — a break from school and work to focus time on yourself can prevent you from burning out. Using the day to spend time with friends to practicing mindfulness techniques can also help.
“Don’t be afraid to get professional help when you need it like medication, someone to talk to – all those kinds of things,” Phillips said.
Tasks practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation can help as well. Iowa State Student Wellness provides resources such as student counseling and guidance for students who feel overwhelmed. The Academic Success Center can also provide resources such as tutoring for students who struggle with their coursework.
“I can’t recommend [services] like counseling services and other stuff - like I can’t recommend that enough,” Keseke said. “Opening up to friends like ‘hey I’m feeling burnt out, can we do a fun activity?’ which can be a group dinner or watching stupid movies – like Megamind.”