Life’s A Balance Act

University is a big adjustment to say the least. It’s kind of scary to think that I’ve only had 2 days of classes and yet am already a bit overwhelmed. My first midterm exam is October 4th, which is less than a month away, and I have several following the week after!

It’s not so much the course material that I am having trouble understanding, but rather how to juggle the amount of work. I’m learning that I am not the best at deciphering between relevant and irrelevant facts, which is resulting in some pretty slow reading, long notes, and a tired brain from memorizing every bit of information. I suppose it’s a learning curve and I have been out of school so it’s only expected that I need to re-find my groove. I’ve found it particularly helpful to chat with my professors independently after class to get a sense of their exam layout so that I can start basing my studying habits on their advice. My chemistry professor informed us that for every hour spent in class you should invest 3-4 hours into your homework. Subtract my 20 hours or so lecture time and my 60-80 hours spent reviewing and I’m left with 68-88 hours in my week for sleeping, eating, exercising and hopefully blogging.1

Thankfully I am pretty good at managing my time but I do get a bit anxious when I start to number crunch! Thinking far ahead is only so beneficial. Dates in the distant future, such as exams I have in April, definitely do not need to be stressed about yet, if ever! In short what this all means is that I am forced to prioritize which can result in my wants and needs to conflict.

In a perfect world I would blog for an hour every night but lately I’ve found myself feeling under the weather (head cold) so I just want to fall asleep! I suppose I could take a break for “me time” but it’s hard to justify writing a blog post when I could be getting ahead. You know? I could substitute exercising in the morning for blogging but I’ve been enjoying my fitness routine and it wakes me up! I understand that I am blogging for myself, and that blogging is more about quality than quantity but I can’t wait until I get settled and have a better routine. I’ve said this for a few weeks now but my life, though enjoyable, has been pretty frantic! I have so many ideas and thoughts to share so hopefully I can pre-write some of my posts this weekend. I admire bloggers that can keep up with regular posts but I have to realize that this blogging realm is new to me and having infrequent posts isn’t the end of the world. I definitely don’t want blogging to become another “all or nothing” topic and as everyone has expressed before, it’s okay to take breaks once and a while.3

Speaking of taking pauses in life, did anyone remember that yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day? If not I challenge you to take a moment today to reassess your mental health and to check that your brain is just as healthy as other organs within their body. Your thinking should be inline with the rest of your values, goals and knowledge. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem but in a moment of hopelessness, helpless or desperateness it often seems like the only option. In reality, suicide is not a fix and as much as I hate to associate it with shame or guilt, it has a lasting effect on anyone around you which isn’t at all fair. Too many lives are lost to suicide, in fact more than one million die by suicide worldwide every year and it does not discriminate based on gender, age or race so everyone is eligible. Yet even though suicide is so common it is rarely talked about. Please take today to make sure that your teacher, student, neighbour, friend, sibling, parent or even self isn’t hiding behind a smile. We all deserve happiness and it is possible for each and everyone of us to experience joy in our lives. Reflect on what it is that your life may be missing or why exactly you aren’t feeling yourself.   Asking for help is not weak, in fact it is an act of bravery. I myself know that therapy can be life changing if you find that right connection so don’t hesitate to seek out additional support. Even if it is just talking to a colleague about what is troubling you, reading a self-help book or picking up a pamphlet about a possible treatment, it is a step in the right direction. Each and every one of us cannot be replaced which is why it is important to diminish the stigma attached to Mental Health in hopes of inspiring others to seek support before it is too late.

I can’t stress how important it is to find a balance. You need to focus on a healthy goal and be satisfied once you achieve it. There is no sense in comparing yourself to others because they may have completely different circumstances than you. Once you commit to maintaining your values I can guarantee that your actions and behaviours will realign leaving you with more energy and a positive mood. ♥ Molly4

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” – Thomas A. Edison

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7 thoughts on “Life’s A Balance Act

  1. Great post Molly! 😀 Don’t worry so much about the numbers as sometimes you don’t need that much homework time after classes for review. School doesn’t not equal your life, yes it is a big part, but like you said, balance is the key. I often found myself stressing a lot over school and getting things done but that then led me to loosing most of my motivation and then stressing more when deadlines were piling up. Not a nice cycle. Remember to lean on friends and family for support and a stress relief! I also liked your discussion on blogging as I have felt somewhat guilty about missing a week or two of posting when life gets a lil bit crazy but this is a hobby, something I am supposed to enjoy doing so I tell myself that it should never be stressful and when I get back to it, I get back to it 😀

  2. Glad you’re adjusting well at university, Molly! Such a fun time 🙂 If possible (!), try not to stress too much about exact numbers spent preparing (although, of course, Chemistry is a completely different discipline than the Arts, which I’m thinking of with this note). I’d suggest looking at those 3-4 hours “work spent preparing outside of class” as a year-long average: at term time (when exams, papers, labs are all due) you’ll spend MORE than that amount of time for each class; at other times, it’s probably okay to spend a bit less! Just try to keep perspective, as you say. Once you get better at gauging what the “important” information is, it will definitely become easier. I remember going through that in year 1, and it’s a good learning opportunity for sure! Have fun!!

    • Great advice! I’m definitely going to work at my own pace and do what I can. Somedays I recognize 4 hours will be too much or that I will not have enough time to commit 4 hours, so on other days I might need to compensate with less work or more!

  3. It’s totally ok to take breaks!!! Work has been overwhelming lately and I’ve been struggling to keep up with blog writing and reading as well. The problem is that it is something I truly love so what ends up being sacrificed is sleep 😦 I’ve been trying to tell myself that after 10:00 PM I need to disassociated from all blogging. It isn’t easy because I legit love reading what other people have been cooking/making/talking about and want to respond to everyone’s comment but unless I create a clone it just isn’t possible. No worries if you need to take a break or blog less. You have to do things at a pace that works for you. I’ll be here reading (when I can!!!) whenever you post!

  4. Don’t stress too much about the exact number of hours you spend, Mols, as long as you put sufficient amounts of effort into every class and get your work done, you’ll be fine. There are going to be some days where you just can’t force yourself to be productive, and others when you’ll be a homework machine! 😉 Just make sure you take some time out for yourself to do fun things- University should be enjoyable, too!

  5. This is a beautiful post Molly. You have a good head on your shoulders, you are so wise. Trust yourself, listen to your inner voice. Taking time for yourself is just as important as anything. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, stay in the moment.
    I’m only a text away if you ever have any questions too 😉

  6. Don’t ever give up fun and life things for the blog girl. You will find a few days to post that work for you I promise ❤ Now as for courses, RELAX take a look at your due dates and set up a homework schedule like we all had back in the day in elementary school (remember when teachers told you when to do things- well they knew when they were a month out but didn't bother us with it!) Also learning to prioritize my work helped me a lot! Do what needs to get done first and push the other pieces out of your mind. I hate last minute but you know what that is reality. Talking to your professors is a great idea, they know their class best!

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