College can be a struggle — it's so easy to want to do absolutely everything. We all want to get the grades, party with friends, explore the city we're in, snag the internship or research position, and make money. It's a the time in our lives where we can embrace our power and potential by exploring our interests. But the more things you commit to, the more like you are to get overwhelmed. This is how I introduce the topic of school-life balance; how to achieve it and why it's so important. School-life balance comes with coordinating your life to align with your priorities and needs, and it comes as a result of putting in effort and taking time to practice.

Remember the diagram that broke the Internet?

Well, I unfortunately can't just straight up deny the truth that is this meme. Sometimes, you can't have it all. You can't always have good grades, a buzzing social life, and enough sleep ALL the time. That's unrealistic, and I'm sorry if I'm the person that is breaking this to you. But you can achieve a balance between all three most of the time, if you keep your priorities in order. But, you'll have to be organized. Every minute of your 24-hour day is worth something.

Organize your life.

tea, pizza, beer, coffee
Diana Milton

I live according to a list and it keeps me sane. I keep a post-it on my computer so I can always have a place to write assignments, things I need to get done, emails I need to write — literally anything. I also use a planner so I can actually plot out my day in 30-minute increments so I can see the time in my week I have available to hang with friends, study, workout, and eat. (Yes, I write out when I have time to eat. Eating is important.)

It may seem a little extra, but laying things out is key to getting everything done and not feeling overwhelmed. This being the first week of classes, I had way more time to be social than any other week (and I took advantage), but I also had an incredibly productive week.

Yes, going back to school meant sleep really wasn't too much of a priority, until I caught my sleep schedule slowly turning into a nap schedule. So I ended the festivities and studying early one night to clock in more than 4.5 hours of sleep. #priorities

Don't overwhelm your work load.

You don't have to do everything. Actually, you shouldn't do everything. It's better to do a couple of things really well because you allow yourself to focus and succeed, rather than spread yourself so thin that you can't dedicate yourself to anything in particular. In other words, it's better to be great at one thing than to be decent at many things.

This makes balancing your schedule kind of easy. Prioritize what you want to do, consider your future aspirations and what steps you can take to get there, and your schedule will sort itself out.

In the Ted Talks video above, David Brooks, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, emphasizes the importance of having balance in life. He does so by explaining the difference between every person's two sides: the one that works to satisfy the craving every person has to feel praise and success, and the one that works with one's own intentions in mind.

If you ever find yourself doing something solely to not receive backlash from your friends/colleagues/family, take a step back and think of its worth. Sort out the pros and cons of the situation and move forward from there. Because trust me, there's nothing worse than feeling trapped in a position or place you don't want to be.

Be present. 

Vitoria Freitas

School-life balance is all about being present in your life. It's also all about recognizing your habits and practicing healthy routines from the start so you can maintain your physical and mental health. If you can hang out with your friends, you have time to squeeze in a heart to heart with yourself. If you can study for six hours straight, you can afford to take a break and eat a substantial meal and workout.

Meet your own needs, listen to your body, and pay attention to your priorities. Achieving a school-life balance will enhance your academic experiences and keep you feeling happy and healthy, and who doesn't want that?