How to Find Balance in College
by Monica May - August 16, 2022
As you prepare for college, there are some key steps you can take to ensure that you set yourself up for success, both academically and spiritually.
College is a wonderful opportunity and can be a very exciting time of life!
However, it can also be a time of high stress because it offers an environment with a plethora of distractions and potential negative influences.
To get the most out of your college experience, it is critical that you properly balance the various aspects of your life. If you can attain this balance, you’ll find yourself better prepared to achieve your academic goals and pursue meaningful extracurricular activities, while also not neglecting your spiritual growth.
How do we go about achieving this balance?
Developing and maintaining consistent balance takes practice, but the following seven steps provide a good foundation to get started.
Seven steps to finding balance during your college years
Step 1: Begin with daily prayer and Bible study.
This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s foundational.
Prayer and Bible study establish a critical two-way communication link between you and God.
Prayer allows us to speak directly to God and enables us to express our thanks, concerns, worries and requests (Philippians 4:6).
In return, God communicates with us through His Word and works with our minds when we study the Bible. Without this connection, we cut ourselves off from our critical lifeline.
With the constant fast pace of college, carving out time for prayer and study will require intentional effort, but it will have a significant impact on the quality of your college experience.
Step 2: Align your priorities.
College will offer a wide array of opportunities for you to get involved in, many of which can provide very positive experiences and the potential for significant personal growth. While these opportunities may be beneficial, your time is a limited resource. You will need to determine your priorities upfront to ensure you don’t neglect them.
In such a fast-paced environment, your time will be a treasure, and the Bible states that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). What you choose to spend your time on will reveal your true priorities.
When determining what organizations and activities to be involved in, consider how much time they will require.
Ask yourself, Will I have the time I need for classes, schoolwork and studying, as well as prayer and Bible study?
You will also need to ensure that your participation in these organizations or activities won’t conflict with your ability to keep the Sabbath or attend church services each week.
For more insight on prioritizing, read “Christian Priorities: Putting God First.”
Step 3: Learn continuously.
College is one of the best environments for learning.
In addition to your schoolwork, college provides many opportunities and avenues for acquiring a variety of skills and knowledge. If there are subjects that interest you, questions that pique your curiosity or skills you would like to learn—take advantage of the unique resources available to you in the college setting.
Make the most of every opportunity to learn, and relate the things you are learning back to your knowledge of God and the Bible.
Step 4: Ask for advice.
It’s natural to struggle with finding balance when you experience a significant life change, and college is no exception. Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice, especially when it comes to balancing priorities during such a new and busy time of life.
The Bible tells us that “he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15). There is a lot to learn from those who have been in similar situations and know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.
Step 5: Neutralize negative influences.
The definition of neutralize is to “render (something) ineffective or harmless by applying an opposite force or effect” (lexico.com).
Unfortunately, college campuses are often home to a variety of negative influences that will attempt to distract you from the balance you are trying to maintain.
However, there is no need to feel intimidated or discouraged. God’s Word can act as that opposing force, and by following Christ’s instruction to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” you will be able to not only resist, but neutralize, the effects of those negative influences (Matthew 6:33).
James also tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Pray for God to shield you from these influences and help you find quality friends who will exert a positive influence.
Step 6: Create a schedule.
This step is simple, but important. You will have a lot on your plate, and there will be many different things that need your attention from day to day.
Creating a realistic schedule, something that works for you and that you can stick to consistently, will go a long way in helping you attend to your priorities and avoid missing deadlines.
For more insight, read about “Christian Time Management.”
Step 7: Examine yourself.
The Bible addresses the topic of self-examination in preparation for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread; however, self-examination isn’t limited to just that time of year.
As you progress through your college career, it’s a good idea to check in and evaluate whether or not you are aligned with your priorities and are continuing to grow, both spiritually and in your studies (2 Corinthians 13:5).
If you ever find yourself coming up short in one of these areas, you may need to consider adjusting your schedule, evaluating your influences or making some changes in your on-campus involvement, so that you can better address your top priorities.
To learn more, read “The Spiritual Tool of Self-Management.”
Success is found in balance
The college experience is a tremendous blessing that will provide you with a variety of opportunities to learn and grow.
As a teen, you have the unique ability to make the most of this experience by beginning with daily prayer and Bible study, aligning your priorities from the beginning, learning continuously, asking for advice, neutralizing negative influences, creating a schedule (and sticking to it), and examining yourself regularly.
All of these elements put together will help you find your balance, and every piece is crucial. Remove one, and you risk losing your balance.
Though this can seem daunting at times, it’s important to remember that God is always with you and will help you restore your balance when you feel like you’re beginning to topple.
You have a very exciting journey ahead of you. Make the most of this special time in your life, and never forget the importance of finding your balance.
For more advice on how to best prepare for college, read “King Solomon’s Advice for College Students.”