Managing Work and Play on Campus

College is an exciting time to learn new things, make friends and gain independence. College can be stressful and difficult, however. Some students have a hard time adjusting to the larger workload, while others struggle to manage their time between school, work and family. Juggling these responsibilities can make it easy to forget time for fun and relaxation. Here are tips for making your college years both enjoyable and successful.

Taking Breaks on Campus
Most students, especially those who commute, are familiar with long days on campus. It’s important to make time for breaks between classes and studying. There are places to eat in almost all campus buildings and meeting friends for lunch is more refreshing than snacking at the back of the classroom. The Union has a food court and fun activities such as bowling, billiards and table tennis. Even if it’s taking a few minutes to take a walk or buy a drink, it is a good idea to find some way to decompress on campus.

Extracurricular Activities
The University of Utah is a huge campus and it is easy to feel lost among the crowd. Participating in extracurricular activities on campus is a great way to have fun, find a community and it looks great on applications for jobs or graduate schools. You don’t have to be a star athlete or the student body president to be involved. U students have created hundreds of clubs and organizations, so odds are you can find something interesting to do on campus. Join a leadership group, volunteer for a cause you are passionate about or participate in Greek life.

Explore the City
Whether you are new to the state or you were born and raised in Utah, there is always something to do around Salt Lake. Utah’s mountains are one of the best places for outdoor recreation, and there are tons of opportunities for skiing, hiking and biking for both beginners and experts. The city itself provides ways to have a good time, from shopping to museums to art venues. On weekends, spend a few hours away from the textbooks and discover something exciting in your own backyard.

Balance Your Time
Most students feel their college to-do list is endless and it can be hard to make time for the necessities, let alone time to relax. To find the right balance, it’s essential to stay organized. Writing and sticking to a calendar or an organization app can be helpful to keep track of everything you want and need to do. It may seem like an oxymoron to plan to have fun, but this is the best way to make sure you stay on top of schoolwork and still leave room for personal time.

Get Help
It’s easy to joke about stressed, overworked college kids sleepwalking through finals, but mental health issues on campus are no joke. According to Chadron State College, more than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by their past school year, and 45 percent felt things were hopeless.  If you are feeling mild or severe anxiety, the U provides helpful resources. The Center for Student Wellness offers resources and counseling services for students, and it’s not just for when you are desperate. It is perfectly okay to cut back if you are overwhelmed. It is normal for students to take fewer credit hours or take a semester off to recuperate. Taking time to address your mental health is important for your happiness and well-being – and it will make you a better student in the long run.

j.petersen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JoshPetersen7

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