Balancing Academics and Getting Involved

by guest blogger and Events and Orientation Assistant, Averil D’Souza

University is a completely different atmosphere from high school. All of a sudden, you go from having four seventy-five minutes classes in a typical day to having 3 hour classes and often more than one in a day. On top of attending class, you also have chapters of readings to do for each one.

As a second year nursing student, I have six classes and two scheduled labs. Each class is three hours, except for my eight hour clinical placement (lab) that we spend in a hospital setting. My week usually starts on Monday morning with my lower liberal Spanish elective 1 hour lecture and then I am in the office working until my 3 hour psychology lecture. After class I commute home which is almost two hours door to door. Tuesdays are long days as I have to be at the hospital and ready to go by 7am; after clinical I usually grab some dinner and begin my commute. If I am lucky I will be able to stay awake long enough to get some reading in. Wednesday mornings I have another 3 hour lecture and then my 3 hour lab after. I try to use Wednesday night to get more reading in and to complete assignments. On Thursday morning I have a 3 hour lecture and then Spanish for 2 hours. Thursday nights are also what I like to call gym nights. Depending on the amount of school work and miscellaneous tasks I have to get done and their respective deadlines, I try to spend an hour at the gym. Finally, on Friday I have two 3 hour classes and a lot of readings to catch up on. Usually, my weekends are spent studying but every once in awhile I schedule time for fun either during the week or on the weekend.

My example is just one example of how busy our weeks can be as Ryerson students. Depending on the program and year you are in, the number of classes you may have varies but finding time for academics, personal, and social involvement is always a struggle. Prior commitments, assignments, midterms, group meetings, class schedules, and commuting always seem to conflict with social events happening in and around campus. This makes being involved quite the challenge.

I believe that the key to finding balance between academics and social involvement is organization and time management (Remember that trusty agenda the RSU gives out each year? Dust it off and start using it!). I also know that this is easier said than done. It is an aspect of my life that I am still working on mastering. Strategies that I have used thus far include writing out everything that I have to do, setting goals and prioritizing them. Personally, I find that rejecting the sweet urge of procrastination and getting a head start on assignments can also help with organization. Being flexible is another useful tool to help find balance between academics and social involvement when life happens unexpectedly. By using these strategies I have been able to find time to allocate for social involvement and doing other things I enjoy. As mentioned, this is still an aspect of my life that I am working on, therefore if you have any suggestions, tips or tools that you use and find helpful please feel free to share!