It can feel impossible to balance academics and social life here at Concord Academy. There are so many opportunities to hangout with your peers on the weekends, on school nights, and free periods throughout the day. On the flip side, there is also a significant amount of work and studying that fills up that free time.
One trick is finding a way to effectively get your studying done with other people so that you can be social and studious at the same time. The problem is that trick is almost impossible to master. The times I struggle most on focusing are the times I try to study with people, whether that be during my frees, on Saturdays, or basically any time other than study hall. Not only is it difficult to finish schoolwork because of focus issues, but there is also the fear of missing out. I find that there are at least three people I know in every single one of my frees. If I choose to hangout with them, I will get no work done but at least I know I won’t miss out on any memories or inside jokes made during those times. Then comes the inevitable diffusion of my personal responsibility. I tell myself things like “oh you can always do it later,” and then continuing to push back my study time by falsely promising myself I will work on the assignment later.
The fine line we walk every day at CA that is just the right amount of time spent doing social and academic activities is hard to stay on. Here are some tips I find helpful. The minute I get an assignment, no matter how much time I have until it is due, I start it the same day. Whether that be opening a new google doc and writing my name on it or starting some insanely informal paragraph for an essay, I know I have to get a head start. That way, no matter what nonsense I may have put in that paragraph for my essay, the tab stays open on my computer and when I am bored I can switch over to it and continue working or just jot down any ideas I am afraid I will forget later. This strategy gives me room to procrastinate.
For example, I started making my friends’ chapel posters the first week of school because I knew that as schoolwork ramped up, I would not have time to finish them later. Even though some of their chapels are in January, I know that there is some leeway for me to procrastinate. I started this article over a week ago when I knew it was not due for a while because it allowed me to come back to it later and revise and elaborate on my broken ideas. Another tip I have is to allow a certain amount of time for yourself that you must spend studying. Whether that be study hall for boarders, or following those same study hall times in your own house if you are a day student. I find set studying times extremely helpful in motivating me. Sometimes I think that I have studied for four hours when in reality, I was staring off into space and on my phone for half of those hours. That not only makes the study time feel longer but it also makes it less effective. If I sit myself down and work for two hours then I can enjoy a full break after and feel more productive.
Allotted study hours, in turn, free up more of your time to fully engage in social activities. Instead of worrying about assignments you did not finish or when you will get around to finishing them, you know there are set times you have to finish them. Overall, the ability to balance social and academic life takes time to master so do not feel discouraged if it feels impossible. I can confirm that even the most organized upperclassmen still struggle with that balance every day.