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How to Balance Work, School, and a Social Life

Sometimes things happen, and you’re left with an extra burden or two. Maybe that means you have to pick up an extracurricular activity to boost your scholarship resume, or maybe you need money now and have to get a job. Either way, adding more things to your schedule is never easy.

You’re young and have your whole life ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to worry about right now.

Being young gives you the extra energy to take care of business, but it also brings along puberty, peer pressures, and the impending doom of what you want to be when you grow up.

I know first hand how stressful life can be. In high school, I was a part of my school’s theater program, I participated in our school’s show choir and  regular choir, and I had two jobs. I also didn’t want to have to say no to my friends when they invited me out.

I had to learn to delegate my circumstances ahead of time so that I was never left making hard choices too late.

My week looked something like:

  • Monday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Spend time with friends 3:45pm-6pm; work 6:30pm-9pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am
  • Tuesday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Show Choir Practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; Homework/Study 6pm-7:30pm; Free time 7:30pm-9:30pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am
  • Wednesday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Spend time with friends 3:45pm-5pm; work 5:30pm-9pm; Sleep 9:30pm-6am
  • Thursday- School 7:30am-3:15pm; Show Choir practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; work 6:30pm-9pm; Homework/Study 9:30pm-11pm; Sleep 11pm-6am
  • Friday- School 7:30am-3:15; Play practice 3:30pm-5:30pm; Spend time with friends 6:30pm-12am; sleep 12:30am-6am
  • Saturday- Work 8am-9pm; sleep 10pm-8am
  • Sunday- Church 10am-12pm; lunch with friends 12:30pm-2pm; Homework/study 2:30pm-5pm; free time 5pm-9:30pm; sleep 9:30pm-6am

The best advice I can give if you are a very busy bee

Give yourself time to breathe.

You need fifteen minutes for relaxation every now and then, if not more time. I get that projects and exams are due at certain times, but try to take breaks between studying. I like to watch fifteen minutes of TV or get a snack in-between homework assignments. It helps me mellow out and focus better on my work.

Try planning your week out in advance.

There may be some curve balls in there, but the more time you allot for specific tasks, the more time you will have for yourself and for your social life. If you feel like you are saying no to almost all your friends’ invitations, try allotting time for them every other week if you can’t afford more time.

The connections you make will aid in shaping you as a person. Find friends that take things as seriously as you do. They are more likely to understand your circumstances. Do not let other kids bully you into thinking that you are boring or overworking yourself. Do things at your own pace and how you want to do them. Different study techniques work for different people.

Here’s another article with tips on how to use your time wisely during the school year, or to just manage your time better in general.


Sarah is a UAB student and an intern for GirlSpring.

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