On “Expresso” show student James Murphy shared some hints how to get better prepared for the examinations as he passed his tests with flying colours. James believes, “the most important thing is to relax before the examination. If you take your time to breath then the answers will come to you naturally”. In his opinion, it will help to stop stressing , which, obviously, will lead to better results. He urges when revising the material, to “research an hour at a time” since “if you treat them (the papers) like real exams you understand exactly what to expect”.
These times can be very difficult for students not only due to a lot of effort being put into preparation but also a lack or considerable decrease of social activity. So to the question of the show’s host, Katlego Maboe, about balancing studying and social life, James revealed that it is a matter of priorities. “If you know how hard you need to work to get that (something you aim for) you know what sacrifices to make”.
Here comes the question: is it common to have to sacrifice your social life in college?
Students have to make compromises and decide what the most important parts of their lives are. Working out a balance of satisfactory grades, basic needs, and fun things takes a little (okay, a lot of) practice. Therefore, sacrifices can be avoided by developing proper time-management system.
These are several suggestions on how to make it work:
- Make your work more efficient by using the resources your school has to offer: working in groups, going to office hours, going to
tutoring or the academic help center, whatever’s available. Starting assignments earlier makes this easier.
- Doing homework with people has the added bonus of providing some social interaction. If your classmates are reluctant or you don’t know them well, you can try asking your professor if they know of a study group you could join, or try and start one via social media.
- Consider the time you spend doing things that aren’t very important or satisfying and try to reduce it. This includes both procrastination and time spent working when you’re too frustrated or exhausted to work efficiently. Learning to recognize this takes some practice and varies from person to person, but when you start making angry noises at the assignment or can’t hold on to your train of thought, you should probably take a break and either do something enjoyable or sleep/eat. It’s okay if not every assignment gets 100% done, though it’s good to have most of them mostly done.
- Schedule time for hanging out with your outside friends. Spending a few hours with them or at a party on a Saturday night is not going to make or break your academic career, especially if you do some work in the morning or afternoon.
- Join a structured activity that’s a manageable amount of time per week–even if you’re truly swamped, you can carve out an hour or two for social dancing, or volunteering at the library, or pick-up basketball. Knowing that Wednesday 8–9pm is an arranged time makes it easier to plan homework around it, and a scheduled commitment helps counteract the guilt of“I’m not spending this hour studying!” if that’s an issue. PE classes are a good option for this.
- Eat meals in places where there are people to talk with, such as in dining halls, your dorm lounge, the cafe, the quad, the student center… Take it as a brain break, don’t work through it.
- This is an especially good time to meet new people – I have found that coming up to a group of people and asking if you can join them works well. Consider eating some meals outside your college, so you have a higher proportion of people who socialize the way you do.