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During your college career, there are going to be many activities you’ll want to participate in. Things like social functions, clubs, sports, parties – it’s a whole new world. But remember, the main reason you went to college is to get the education you need to live a successful life after college.

Although the parties and social events are a great way to meet people and immerse yourself in the “college lifestyle,” don’t let them become a distraction.

So, how do you stay motivated to focus on school while still enjoying other activities?

Self-Discipline

Discipline is the key to being successful. Ultimately, you need to make sure you are prioritizing your classwork above extra-curricular activities to get the full college experience. It’s a balancing act, and everyone is different, so to start, you should try making weekly schedules.

For example, you already know when you are going to be in class and know when your assignments are due. So, allocate enough time to focus on your studies and course work. Completing your assignments on time is essential, as late assignments can often result in grade reductions, which in turn impact your overall GPA.

For big assignments like research papers, mid-terms, or finals, it can be helpful to split up the coursework and work on it in sections. This will help you maintain a balanced workload and hopefully avoid having to cram or write a term paper the night before it’s due.

With the extra time, you can double-check your work, verify the accuracy of your research, or better understand and retain the material for your tests.

Relax

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a step back. Take a deep breath and collect yourself. It’s not usually as bad as you think it is.

Find some healthy ways to manage your stress. Some students meditate, go to the gym, or engage in group activities on campus to make friends. Making friends in your classes can be a good way to form study groups and split up the workload to make it more manageable. When putting a group together, it’s important to make sure everyone has the same priorities to help minimize distractions.

Other students are going to be experiencing a lot of the same things you are, so in addition to study-buddies, they can also be great confidants.

Stress is something you can’t avoid, but it is manageable. If you start to feel like you’re sinking, just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Enjoy the Experiences

While your first priority in college should be to focus on your schoolwork, don’t lose out on the opportunity to enjoy great experiences, and make long-lasting friendships.

Check out the clubs on campus, you’d be surprised by what’s out there! You can find a ton of great stuff like religious groups, debate, art, and foreign language clubs, to name a few.

Sports teams are also a great way to meet new people. Intermural teams don’t require you to be able to shoot a basket like Jordan or swing a club like Tiger Woods. Even if you don’t want to play, you can hang out in the Quad and cheer on your friends!

Some colleges also have community outreach programs where they help out with their local neighborhoods. For those interested in giving back, this might be a great way to meet students with similar interests, learn more about your surrounding area, and take your mind off of your homework for a little while.

Ultimately, the happier and more fulfilled you are, the more motivation you’ll have to get through the stressful days.

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.