By Alyssa Dingus, Appalachian Chapter Student Ambassador
Remaining successful in your academic career is tough. The further you advance towards your degree, the more demanding school feels. The desire to have a blooming social life and also stay a top student can seem like an impossible task for young accounting students. Let’s be honest, the prospect of studying for the CPA exam and taking those tough accounting courses all while still having time for friends and family is overwhelming to even think about! However, there is no need to despair; I have five keys that have helped me balance my academic and social life to maintain academic success. If you keep these five key things in mind throughout the year, staying on top of your grades and still having time to relax will seem much more manageable.
Prioritization is vitally important to balancing most things in life and academic/social balance is no exception. Before setting out to complete your tasks for the day, sit down and compile a list of everything you need to get done and rank them by importance and time to completion. Seeing all your class deadlines and appointments in one place and analyzing their importance to your grades will do wonders by helping you stay focused on what truly matters for the day. This applies to social situations as well. Going out with friends can be a great escape from a tough day, but you need to be able to prioritize social events in the same way you do academic work.
2. Apply yourself wholeheartedly
Whether you're taking hard major-related classes or an elective for fun, you should try your best to apply yourself wholeheartedly. This doesn't mean you need to dedicate every waking hour to schoolwork. It simply means you should do your best to learn and apply the material in some way and not give up simply because it seems too hard or not worth your time. If you try to take a genuine interest in every class you take, it will make learning the material so much easier. You can’t love every class you take, but you can still apply yourself to make the best of the experience.
3. Know your limits
This might be the hardest key to follow, but knowing your limits is very important in keeping your grades balanced with your social life. While pushing yourself to do better is great for helping you grow professionally and personally, pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits will end up wrecking your grades and social life. This means setting realistic goals and recognizing when you are capable of doing more or when you have set out to do too much. Striking this balance will help you stay on top of your grades without overloading yourself.
4. Be aware of emotional, physical and mental health
Another key to maintaining academic/social balance is to listen to your body and be aware of your emotional, physical and mental well-being. Become familiar with all the resources on your campus available for you to use in times of crisis and never put off your health for the sake of academic success. While success in school is incredibly important in the accounting field, your health should never take a back seat. Every now and then just take a minute to check in with yourself and see if you need to slow down for the sake of your health.
5. Build a healthy support network
The last and most important part of maintaining a good academic/social balance is to create a healthy support network. Surrounding yourself with supportive, caring people not only improves your happiness and social life, it also provides you with a network of people you can trust to help you out when school just feels like too much. I encourage you to make friends in all your classes and join any club that sounds interesting to you. You never know where you will meet a supportive friend! Whether you are struggling academically or just need a fun night out, a healthy support network can help you find balance in academics and school.
Much of your academic success depends on how you handle life outside of class. These keys have helped me stay on top of my academic career while still having fun in college. I hope my advice will be of some use to you in your accounting journey!