How to Balance Grades, a Social Life, and Sleep in College

It’s the classic saying that every college student is familiar with – “Good grades, a social life, and enough sleep – in college, you can only pick two.” Getting a good education is of course the primary reason for attending college, but the social scene appeals to many students as well. However, the great determination and time it takes to maintain a good GPA is often underestimated by incoming freshmen, and balancing that academic life with the desired social life takes some discipline. Developing that skill is yet another time-consuming process, so where does that leave students with getting some shut-eye? Exactly.

It would seem that most students lean toward picking the first two: good grades and a social life. This plan of execution never lasts long though because let’s face it – as humans, we need our sleep. We literally won’t be able to function without a substantial amount of it.  And realistically, how are you going to be able to study well enough to get an A on that exam while your brain is deprived of rest? Or how can you embark on these social gatherings when you are completely lacking energy? Students like to believe they’re tougher than that, but you can’t fight biology; the body requires sleep. Here is some great info on the importance of sleep that you may want to check out.

After accepting the importance of sleep, this popular phrase tells students they must choose between having fun and having A’s. Is this really reasonable? It shouldn’t have to be a choice, but the time both of these activities take up sure makes it seem that way. Being fresh to the college scene, a new student may put their social life first on the priority list and believe they can coast their way through their schoolwork. The difficulty in your academics will ultimately depend on your major, but either way, this method won’t fly. You cannot breeze through college assignments and tests. They all require adequate preparation that cannot be underestimated, so thinking you can beat the system will not serve you well. Here are some great tips on how to choose your extracurricular activities that you may find useful.

Yet, you should also take comfort in the fact that you won’t need to be spending hours on end at the library every single night from Freshman Welcome Week through graduation. That would just be ridiculous, and it’s unheard of. Unless you go through some very strange scheduling scenario with a very poor academic advisor, you should never have a semester where every single class is a torturous battle one-hundred percent of the time. You will have killer classes, you will have regular classes, and you will hopefully have a couple of easy classes. The point is that college academics require intense studying and time, but not all of the time. 

There is no reason you can’t have a social life as well. If it were impossible, that wouldn’t be one of the favorite aspects of college you hear passed down from alumni. Now, some people do spend too much time on the social scene and end up with disappointing grades, but that is because they may not understand how to manage it well. It is important that you know how to successfully manage your various priorities. Keep a good balance of everything and don't let either side overwhelm you. After all, extracurricular activities can boost college success!

So what does it all come down to? Is it impossible to have it all? The trick is to balance and rotate them accordingly. You can have it all, but not always excessively and not always at the same time. In the end, allow yourself time in your head (yes, another time-consuming task, but this is what college is!) to make thoughtful and smart decisions regarding each of these areas and things will work out just fine.