Independence. Leadership. Fellowship. Time management. Just finishing up my second year in college, I began to look back at successes and failures in the short time that I have spent at Syracuse University. Along with that, a major part of my life up “on the hill” at SU would have to be my faith life and the connections I have made through that. The Catholic Center is a small knit group of students that has come to form a strong bond with one another.
This past year, I took an even bigger role in the center and was the head of a group called REFRESH, the Bible study group for first year students. With this new task on my plate, I soon began to wonder how I would manage being involved in this group, along with my other activities such as being a Resident Advisor, the captain of the Club Cross Country team, an 18-credit workload, on top of other extra-curricular activities I was involved in. Finding that perfect balance between academics, faith, and an active lifestyle was complicated and it was hard for me when I first started this school year.
I struggled to settle into the groove of the semester when I first got back at school. I spent countless nights staying up past 2 a.m. in order to finish assignments and get everything done. Some days I would be falling asleep in class because the previous day was just so hectic and fast-paced that I never really got a chance to rest up.
Eventually, I found a rhythm to settle into so I could find that perfect balance that was fit for me. The biggest help to me was my calendar. This allowed me to plan out the whole month and I could see what days would be the busiest and where I had that free time. Yes, a lot of my friends called me crazy because I color coordinated my calendar by different categories, but it helped out so much. Once the calendar was set for the whole month, I had a much easier time balancing my hectic life. There were times that I was busy and curveballs were thrown at me, but I could account for that—I knew my life wouldn’t be perfect the way I planned it. The other help that I received was from Maggie, the campus minister, and Steven, my Resident Director. Both these individuals understood what a busy life most college students have and they accommodated for such chaos. With the help of both of these mentors, I was able to slide through the second semester and actually have time for everything I wanted to be a part of. I also started to take on more tasks because I was well balanced and prepared for it.
Some advice I have to share for newcomers to the college life, or even for current students is to find a good rhythm for you. If you want to be successful and achieve all that your goals for the school year, then you have to find a balance of the lifestyles you want. For me, that was being a student, a captain for cross-country, an RA, and a Catholic leader.
The great thing about a lot of these activities is that they could be combined. I am constantly reminded of the saying by Pope Francis, “If we live our Faith in our daily life, then our work too becomes the chance to spread the joy of being a Christian.” Pope Francis and many other leaders of our Church are calling us to be the Light of Christ and to be role models for those that need it. With this constantly in my mind, I am reminded that all my lifestyles coincide with each other and there is always a perfect opportunity to combine the lifestyles to create more time and flexibility. Through these thoughts and actions, I have found the balance between my faith and my academic life because I will always be living that Catholic lifestyle in every form every day.
For we shall go and be the Light of Christ in everything that we do so that everyone will know we are Christians, not by our words, but by our actions. Find the perfect balance and then you will be sure to have the semester that you imagined while thinking of the upcoming school year this summer!