Trying to balance academics, athletics, extra curriculars and sorority life can be daunting. After all, you want to make the most of your collegiate experience by packing it with experiences and memories, but you do not want to do so at the expense of your health or grades. During recruitment we talk a lot about this topic, but then it seems to disappear. We promote that the sorority experience helps develop critical skills such as time management and discipline. But has anyone actually ever talked about just how to achieve this balance? During my collegiate experience I was a double major, a cheerleader, participated in multiple honorary societies in which I held leadership, and was involved in Sigma Kappa with executive council positions. It wasn’t always easy, and I didn’t always achieve a perfect balance. However, along the way I learned a few “best practices.” Here are four of my tried-and-true tips to balancing sorority life with all your other commitments:
- Keep an up to date schedule.
It is critical that you either write all important dates in a planner or type them in your online calendar. Even if you are not involved in anything else besides Sigma Kappa, keeping an organized calendar of all your events and activities will lead to organized success. If you are involved in multiple organizations, my biggest tip is to keep separate calendars. The advantage of having multiple calendars is that way you can solely see what responsibilities you have for each of your commitments. There’s no harm in still having it all in one place, but give the separate calendars a try! This also helps you to see how much time you are spending with each commitment. Should you ever need to reconsider what you are involved with, this a great way to start your review.
2. Take time to develop relationships of trust and vulnerability.
When you are involved in multiple organizations, it is common to become stressed out or overwhelmed during busy times of the year. The people around you can be your biggest supporters. Taking time to develop relationships with others in your organizations, whether they are members or advisors, will equip you with support when you need a break, extra assistance, or just a sympathetic ear. Becoming vulnerable with these people will lead to more meaningful and impactful relationships in the long run.
3. Take time to self-reflect.
Being a college student is stressful enough with the demands and pressures of academics. Taking time to self-reflect provides time for yourself that is productive in reflecting on your personal goals, developing new goals or simply taking self-care time for yourself away from the hectic world of college. Self-reflection has been my biggest tool in keeping myself level-headed and destressed. It allows me to see all the progress I have made and healthily develop goals. This can be done in a wide variety of ways, such as simple internal thoughts, a bullet journal or any other form of expression that best suits your style. Never forget how important your health is, because you cannot be that amazing member of any organization if you are not taking care of yourself.
4. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
There will be times when you cannot possibly get everything done, and that is okay. There will inevitably be times in life where you wished you had more time because if you did you could accomplish that much more. But you are human, not a robot. So be gentle with yourself. Do the best you can with what you have. The key is to prioritize what is most important. I am a hand written list lover, so I accomplish this through making a list of everything I have to do in a day (and still do this as an LC!). After I make my initial list, I number everything to indicate what needs accomplished first, second and so on. Once I accomplish items I cross them off; there is nothing more satisfying! Find a method that works for you. Whether you use a hand written list, mental list or something else, practice prioritization. Do what is most important first.
As a leadership consultant I chose to simultaneously pursue my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction while I travel this year. These tips have been critical to my success in balancing LC life, graduate life and personal life. It is no easy task, especially when you realize you must be self-disciplined to give up a Friday night to write a research paper. Nevertheless, by utilizing these tips I have found that I am , always able to accomplish whatever tasks I set my mind to. My decision to work full time and purse my Masters was rooted in self-reflection of what I thought was best for myself in addition to strong prioritization of how I projected I would balance my days. Everyone is different, and so everyone will strike this balance in a very individual way. Remember that everyone always needs a break at some point and there is no shame in taking that well-deserved break. Make the absolute most out of every experience.
LC Annika’s Bio
As a leadership consultant, Annika supervises activities of assigned collegiate chapters; partners with volunteers and staff to implement an execute chapter development efforts; and directs, teaches, advises and consults with chapter members in the areas of recruitment and chapter operations. Annika is from the Gamma Delta Chapter at Thiel College. When she was a collegiate member she served as Chapter President, Vice President of New Member Education, Vice President of Finance, Panhellenic Delegate, Panhellenic Executive Council Secretary, and a Standards Council Representative. She also held two on-campus jobs, was part of multiple honorary societies and was a member on the cheerleading team. One thing you may not know about Annika is that she is engaged and getting married next year!