It is easy to be overcome by stress, anxiety, and social pain. Balancing school with work and relationships is a formidable task, but it is not impossible. I find balance in my school life when I think of my daily activities in terms of three separate areas; physical, mental, and spiritual. This is a great way to keep oneself from being stressed out, overworked, under-developed, or shut in.
Physical activities include areas of school life that affect one’s physical health. These activities include attending active clubs, walking around campus, eating dinner and going to the gym. It is important to keep oneself physically active, as an active body gives someone the ability to do the things they want to do. If someone’s body is sick, then they do not have the ability to attend class or partake in extracurricular activities.
Mental activities consist of moments in school that involve one’s brain and mental capacity. These activities include attending classes, taking quizzes and exams, writing papers, critical thinking, engaging in discourse with friends and colleagues, and analyzing media content (books, video games, films, and music). These activities improve cognitive ability. Someone’s mind must be active for them to be aware of their school life and interpret events.
Spiritual activities affect someone’s emotional life. These activities include partaking in extracurricular clubs, attending church services, having a job, hanging out with friends, and forming close relationships. These activities improve a person’s sense of belonging and purpose. Someone cannot find meaning in their school life if they do not partake in activities that give their school life meaning.
For a person to have a meaningful and positive college experience, there must be balance amongst these three areas. If a student engages in too many physical activities, they may become fatigued and over exhausted. If a student engages in too many mental activities, their brain may feel taxed and could lead them into a downward, self-focused spiral. If a person engages in too many spiritual activities, they are not grounded and may avoid necessary responsibilities.
The balance between these three areas can be easily measured, based on self-analysis. All someone has to do is ask themselves what activities they partake in. There also does not have to be perfect balance amongst these three areas, as most people prefer some activities over others. This does not mean one person’s hobby or social identity will determine which area of activities they prefer. For example, an athlete who competes in sports does not necessarily have to lean more towards physical activities. They could find more enjoyment talking with friends after games, which would be a spiritual activity. They could also delight in figuring out how to best psych their opponents out and gain a tactical advantage in the game, which is a mental activity.
Considering the balance between these three areas is best discovered through self-reported data, I will give my own self-reported findings as an example. In my school life, I have not found the perfect balance between these three areas, but I have found a balance that I appreciate. My balance leans more toward mental activities, but I also partake in spiritual and physical activities. I primarily engage in mental activities. I enjoy reading, critically watching films, and analyzing text. I am also involved in our school’s theatre department, which covers all three areas of physical, mental and spiritual. I do not engage in many socially spiritual activities, but I do attend church services on Sundays, either in person or online.
As you choose classes for the spring semester, consider how your schedule will reflect balance between the three areas of physical, mental and spiritual. Make time for extracurricular activities and try to find the balance that works best for you.