The key to a successful semester: Balance

Via FIU Flickr

Alba Rosa | Assistant Opinion Director

As we students return to the hectic class schedules once again, most of us tend to feel overwhelmed, anxious and unprepared for the new semester. The secret to combating this anxiety is a healthy balance between your school, work and social life. 

On the first day of the fall semester, my heart beat twice as fast as I made my way to my first class. I was overly concerned about the difficulty of the classes and the strictness of my professors, as well as getting lost on a new campus and arriving late to my classes. 

Juggling so many responsibilities the first week was quite unsettling. Having professors immediately start announcing assignments was what I was most unprepared for, but I can proudly say that I survived it. 

According to Remedy, an online mental health service, feeling anxious on our first days of school is quite a common experience and completely natural. Reasons vary for everyone, from feeling homesick or facing new responsibilities, the new semester brings challenges to us all.  

Once we’re used to a certain schedule, it’s hard to break out of it; especially after a relaxing summer. Returning to class disrupts the daily routine you developed over the past couple of months and introduces a more stressful one. And unfortunately, we must embrace this discomfort in order to successfully finish the semester. 

But returning to school doesn’t mean that the fun is over. 

As you get used to new tasks, keep track of your assignment deadlines and work schedule with an online or physical planner; that way you can still fit some fun plans into your schedule with friends and family.  

Time management is essential as you progress in college — with so much to do in so little time.  

The most exciting plans can be the simplest ones; take some time to go to the movies, walk around a new area, or visit the beach or a park. Activities like these can help take your mind off the overwhelming circumstances.  

I typically like to get rid of my responsibilities early in the day if I want to take a mental break later. I’m not the type to work at night because it’s the only time I have for myself, where I can practice my writing and music-making and, most importantly, wind down after a long productive day.  

I encourage you to do the same. It’s beneficial to relax by yourself, with whatever intrigues you — like art, music, writing, running and much more. You deserve to invest in yourself as much as you invest in school and work. 

It’s important to separate yourself from stressors for just a moment, to prevent burnout or fatigue so quickly into the semester. The more you overwork yourself, the more your performance decreases and you’ll feel exhausted and experience headaches, as well as gastrointestinal problems and sleep issues.  

Now I’m in my last year of college and even though I feel anxious the minute I wake up for school, I’ve learned to manage and overcome it. Not only have I learned how to calm myself down, but after fully organizing my deadlines and work schedule, I feel more confident and collected this semester. 

Because I’m managing my time more wisely, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy free kayaking at FIU’s Biscayne Bay campus, go barhopping and clubbing with my friends — make lasting memories before I take on more responsibilities once I graduate.  

It’s important to find this balance. It’ll feel weird, even unnatural at first, but you’ll quickly realize how great it is to be able to successfully manage your life to prevent mental health issues.  

Continue this habit even after you graduate college because life will get busier and more complicated. Even in our thirties, balancing and organizing our days will be the ultimate strategy to survive the eventual nine-to-five jobs. 

We shouldn’t be overconcerned about jobs and classes. Everyone deserves to have fun, take advantage of their youth and feel ecstatic about their life.  

Don’t let this semester stop you from enjoying the greater things in life because there are ways to manage the stressors. FIU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, is a great resource if you need guidance about your struggles as well.  

Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, the key to a healthier lifestyle is balance. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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