The balancing act

Juggling school and life can often pose challenges

Graphic by Michaella Fortune
According to Susan Korba, director of Student Academic Success Services, first-year students must learn how to manage their time properly.
According to Susan Korba, director of Student Academic Success Services, first-year students must learn how to manage their time properly.

For incoming first-years, the mere prospect of experiencing university can be overwhelming.

Queen’s undergraduates and administrators say it’s important for students to have realistic ideas of what to expect when transitioning from high school.

What some students find most challenging is being able to maintain a good balance between their studies and a social life.

First-years can feel pressure to be as social as possible, especially those living in residence.

Tyli Onel, ArtSci ’17, said she was initially wary upon going into first-year — but she was able to strike a positive balance between her social life and academics.

“At the beginning of first year, I was having trouble balancing my work and social life,” Onel told the Journal via email. “But once I was in the routine I found it easier to balance my work and play.

“I knew that I had a lot more time to do all my work in the day,” she added, “whereas in high school you had to be at school all day and still find time to do homework.”

Susan Korba, director of Student Academic Success Services (SASS) at Queen’s Learning Strategies and Writing Centre, said it’s vital for first-year students to manage their time properly.

“I think it’s about thinking of what you want your life to look like and then setting some priorities,” she said.

“Academics, of course, are extremely important, but so is having enough sleep.

So whether or not you’re spending time studying or spending time going out on the weekend, it’s about having a healthy lifestyle.”

Korba said it’s imperative for students to take advantage of all the student resources that Queen’s has to offer.

“I think that students who are proactive tend to be the most successful,” she said.

According to Korba, students must be open to receiving advice and see how that fits with their needs.

Planning a realistic weekly schedule, Korba added, is a good idea for new students. Fitting in time for schoolwork and socializing with friends, in addition to other equally important activities such as exercise and alone time, creates productive habits.

At Queen’s in particular, Korba said, the student support resources available are high quality, making them hugely beneficial to students.

“There’s a real community here, and it’s a sort of transition-easer,” she said. “I think that there’s a lot of outreach and programs that take place. It’s a really good place for students to find themselves.”

As well as academic resources offered through SASS and other programs, there are health resources on campus that include Health, Counselling and Disability Services and the AMS Peer Support Centre.

“First-years are in for a wonderful experience, and they need to remember when they need some support, it’s available to them,” Korba said. “They just need to reach out and grab it.”


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