Balancing Academics and Social life

Striking a balance between your academic and social life is a challenging task. During your school/college period, everything is well structured and scheduled, leaving significantly less responsibility on you to plan things on your own. Whereas at the university level, you will get the freedom to organise your daily tasks at your convenience. Being a first-year student balancing these two domains will often be tricky for you as LUMS provides ample opportunities and choices. Finding an ideal balance will be hard; therefore, using time wisely will aid in getting close to this level of balance and getting the most out of your university experience. Below are a few tips to strike a balance between your academic and social life; by following these, you will be able to ace your courses and, at the same time, have an active social life.

1. Studying Smart

A lot of us believe that an effective way of studying is spending hours on your respective course and cramming topics as much as you can without taking any break. However, the opposite is true; taking breaks while studying refreshes your mind and helps in retaining more knowledge and applying the concepts efficiently. Therefore, give yourself some space to strengthen your memory. Secondly, if you feel stuck in some course, talk to your instructor or Teacher Assistant (TA) to get clarity on the concept rather than spending hours trying to understand it all by yourself. During your time at LUMS, you will struggle in a few courses of your desired major; thus, it's better to approach the instructor or even get advice from your seniors by posting on LUMS Discussion Forum (LDF) to save yourself from burnout.

2. Not Skipping Classes

Before you even think about skipping a class, check the course outline for guidelines given by the instructor on attendance, class participation weightage, and how many absences you are allowed to take. There will be times when you will be mentally exhausted, or have a family emergency, and will have to skip a class which is justified. However, if you miss classes just to go to a party with friends or watch a movie at the cost of your course grade, you are wasting an opportunity to become a better self. This may lead to a never-ending pattern of skipping classes acting as a barrier for achieving academic excellence.

3. Setting up Priorities

You first have to make a list of tasks you want to do, even write down the most mundane tasks, to have a more comprehensive plan. Next, identify which task is important or urgent and will help you in achieving your goals. Break yearly goals and tasks into months and further into days so that it's easy for you to prioritise tasks daily. By looking at long lists of tasks, you might feel less productive and start procrastinating. In order to tackle this issue, constantly evaluate the effort required and the urgency of your tasks. With prioritisation of tasks, you may embark on a journey of actual progress and become realistic and focused. We assure you such an effort will make a difference in the longer run.

4. Studying in a Group

When studying in a group, you can work on multiple tasks and solve complex problems promptly. This will save your time and strengthen the bond with your friends with whom you will be studying. Such a step will aid in achieving your academic goals and, at the same time, will widen your social circle as well.

5. Managing Time Efficiently

Time management is crucial for success in every phase of life. The short periods of free time you get during the weekdays must be used wisely. This time should be used for doing assignments, quiz preparation, or any pending task to free up a large portion of time on the weekend for your social activities. Also, induce flexibility into your timetable because there is no guarantee that a particular task will finish in the one hour you designated for it nor will you be spending precisely 30 mins with your friends. It does sound simple, but having a timetable and organised life can be very calming and peaceful as after you have gone through all the hassle of studying you get time to enjoy the weekend.

6. Budgeting and Managing Finances

Accommodation, travelling, daily food, and going out with friends are only some of the expenses you will have; thus, without planning out your monthly budget, you will end up facing financial constraints in the second or third week of the month. So, it’s better to plan things out and understand where and when to spend money. First, add up your income, the money you get from your parents, scholarship, or any other part-time job, then take out your essential outgoings such as rent for your accommodation, food, etc. After this, whatever is left can be used for things you want such as watching a movie with friends or buying clothes. Always shop smart, avail student discounts, and have clarity about what you need and what you want. Moreover, always try to save money on food by eating at Pepsi Dining Centre (PDC) and not going to expensive on-campus eateries.

7. Not Missing out on Societies

Currently, LUMS has societies in almost every field, giving you ample opportunities to broaden your knowledge and polish your skills in the area of your interest. Not joining them just because it will act as a hurdle in achieving your academic goals should not be your perspective. Societies help you to integrate into life at LUMS and give you the opportunity to learn and lead at the same time. Moreover, societies are where you can make friends and have an active social life to freshen up your mind in a hectic daily routine.

8. Mental Health should be your First Priority

You will face setbacks in your life, and sometimes you will not get what you want; in such scenarios, don’t lose hope and always prioritise your mental health. IT'S OKAY TO MESS THINGS UP! You just have to learn from your mistakes, don't burden yourself too much by always wanting the perfect CGPA or having the perfect social life. You can achieve your academic goals by setting smaller targets and putting maximum effort into achieving them. Secondly, don't stress out about not having any friends; being a first-year student, some of you may go through this for a while; in this case, enjoy your own company, go on solo trips, read books or do things that make you happy. At some point during your academic journey, you will make friends who will spend quality time with you and will not judge you. Just remember to always prioritise your mental health because it will affect every domain of your life. There is no perfect set of rules or formulas to achieve balance. It varies from person to person and the extent to which you are self-disciplined. If, even after following the given tips, you don't get a certain level of balance between both domains, contact your academic advisors/Peer Ambassadors or even your O-Week coach to help you sort these things out.