10 Tips to Good Grades AND Great Fun

College will be an amazing time in your life. It’s filled with opportunities, self-exploration, a few mistakes that will make you a better person, and a ton of fun. The thing is, you have to learn how to balance work and play, which — if you’re like most students — can be a tough transition. Just remember, you’re not the first person to struggle with a school/fun balance, and there are a number of ways to keep things even!

Here are 10 things you can do to balance good grades with a good time:

1. Balance Your Course Load

Some people like to get all the easier classes out of the way at once. While this may seem ideal in the beginning, it can leave you with a grueling schedule when the tough stuff barrels down on you. Be proactive and mix a few tougher courses in with the fun ones. This will prevent burnout as you progress through school, allowing you to create windows of freedom for your educational years.

2. Schedule Early

Procrastinating is the number one bad habit you should leave behind as you enter adulthood. By scheduling classes as soon as they become available, you’ll be able to pick the courses, times, and teachers you actually want. If you wait until the last minute, you’re pigeonholing yourself into a position you’ll have to live with for several months.

3. Don’t Overload

Being the ambitious student that you are, you probably want to knock out as much coursework as possible in a single go so you can graduate and enjoy the working world quickly. Be patient! An overloaded schedule can cause you way more stress than necessary, and the real world will still be there when you’re done. By taking on a reasonable workload, you’ll leave yourself with time to go out and explore non-academic opportunities without worrying about homework and ongoing projects.

4. Create a Schedule

This is your time to learn how to make your calendar shine. This is also when you need to learn what works best for you. Even in this digital age, some students do better with paper and pen. Others do best with apps. Figure out what style works for you, and start plugging away at your schedule. The moment you receive your syllabi, plug in important dates—record the dates you’ll need to turn in projects, take quizzes and tests, and anything else extraordinary. Now you can build out homework time. From there, schedule any part-time job obligations. At this point, you can clearly see all the windows you have left for fun with friends!

5. Make Studying a Social Event

Remember, your friends are going through this, too. Why not go through the educational trenches together and have a good time while you’re at it? Schedule weekly learn-and-eat potlucks or coordinate post-library happy hours so you can decompress. A few tapas will get your brain going again while you converse with your mates and learn from their experiences.

6. Take in Some “You” Time

It’s important to know what relaxes you and makes you feel content. Are you a gym rat? Make sure you find time to hit the treadmill. Are you a gamer? Schedule a little PvP into your everyday activities. Does a big dinner with lots of friends do the trick? Save your cash and plan a monthly get-together at your favorite spot. Do you feel bombarded by people all day long? Maybe you need a date with yourself so you can check out the latest flick without being bothered.

10 Tips to Good Grades AND Great Fun

Balance is important, but you can’t balance your academic needs with your personal desires if you don’t know what makes you tick. A little self-exploration will do a world of good!

7. Take Advantage of Office Hours

If you’re struggling in a course, the last thing you should do is keep struggling. Office hours exist for a reason! You may be spending countless hours on a single assignment you don’t understand while the rest of the world is out having fun. Avoid this pitfall by being upfront with your professor about your problems. Your instructors want to see you succeed, and they don’t want you missing out on life because you don’t understand what you’re supposed to do!

8. Explore a Part-Time Position

You should never overwork yourself, but be open to the possibilities of meeting friends at a part-time endeavor. Bookstores, restaurants, and coffee shops are notorious for hiring college-aged help who are outgoing and friendly, just like yourself. If you find the right employer, you’ll actually look forward to going to work and shooting the breeze with your colleagues.

9. Party Like a Sober Rockstar

There are plenty of ways you can enjoy yourself without needing two days to recover. Hit up an art museum or find your way to an amusement park. Do a little digging on the history of your school’s town, and walk by the ghostly houses or historical sites. Plan a weekly board game night where you and your friends challenge your brains. The more sober fun you can find, the more functional your brain will be when it’s time to hit the books.

10. Change Up Your Study Location

If your dorm walls are closing in on you, it’s time to get out! Try studying at a park with a friend, or head to a coffee shop where plenty of like-minded folks will greet you when you walk in.

Are you looking for a few more ways to make your college experience the best and brightest it can be? Visit Academy of Art blog or join in on the conversation @academy_of_art today!