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Hobbies and Harmony: Finding Balance in College Life

February 27, 2024Back to Learning Centre
Khanysha Coppin
Khanysha Coppin

It’s 9pm on a Sunday and you’ve just finished taking notes on the last mandatory reading for class tomorrow morning. Having finally caught up on the previous week, you feel relieved. But then you notice the growing stack of books you’ve set aside for “when you have time,” the unfinished hat you started to crochet, and the mindfulness journal sitting on your side table…

It can feel like no matter what you do, there’s never enough time to pursue your hobbies outside of school-related responsibilities and commitments. It doesn’t matter how much you reorganize your schedule, try to prioritize, or cancel plans. There are simply not enough hours in a day, or days in a week to accommodate it all (if you intend to keep your sanity).

Reaching a point where it feels like you’re living, breathing and existing for school and only school can be alienating. Abandoning your personal interests and passion projects to accommodate your education, when only a part of your overall identity is attributed to being a student, is unhealthy. Especially at a time when exploring other facets of yourself and identity is so important.

Sound familiar? It’s a scenario that many university students, myself included, know all too well. If you relate with any of the above, here are a few tips and tricks that can be helpful in managing your time and maintaining a healthy and sustainable school/work-life balance.


Having a set routine has been very helpful in planning my days to make sure I have time for everything I want to accomplish. When it comes to managing your class schedule, this is easy because half the work is already done for you. Your classes and extracurricular commitments typically already have set days and times; this is the foundation to building a good routine. From there, you can add in small daily hobbies or passions around your non-negotiables.

For example, I have class in the morning and work-study in the afternoon, but also want to complete a yoga flow once a day. Class and work are non-negotiables that take up my time during the day, but I have time for yoga in the evenings. Adding this task to my wind-down routine before bed makes it feel like less of an obligation and allows me to end my day with a self-care practice.

Set a Day

Sometimes your schedule fills up. Maybe you said yes to a few more plans than you realized and before you know it, your hobbies get swept up and abandoned in the chaos of the week (I’m especially guilty of this). A tip I’ve picked up is to schedule in your calendar a day where you only work on something that you’re passionate about. This doesn’t mean that you abandon your other responsibilities for the day entirely, but that whichever day you chose whether it be for 15 minutes or 5 hours, you dedicate that day’s free time to working on or doing something unrelated to academia, friends, or socializing.

This works best for hobbies that tend to be more time consuming, or that require a lot of attention and are better suited to weekly commitment. For me, this involves a lot of reading, writing and editing. I set aside Friday mornings to do so for as long or as little as I’m able to.

Even if I only make it through one chapter, I purposely and intentionally set aside time to do so. This has been very helpful in reclaiming time that I’ve felt needed to be spent on school when in reality it can be dedicated to myself.

Know your limits

The last and final tip is also the most important. We aren’t robots and life is never as simple as we want it to be. You may feel tired one day, you may feel sick, you may have an entire paper due that you completely forgot about and you only have your thesis. For as much as you may want to work on and make time for your hobbies, it’s equally important to know when it isn’t possible. That’s not to say that it’s impossible, it just isn’t as important as maintaining your well-being.

I’ve had many times where I planned on getting a lot of reading done on a Friday morning but I decided to watch reality TV instead. That’s okay! The point is that you are actively pursuing your passions so that you feel independently fulfilled outside of school.

Be cautious of focusing too hard on checking everything off an imaginary list just so you can say you did – the last thing you want is to end up burnt out as a result. You may not finish your personal projects as quickly as you would like, but what’s important is that you did it! This era of young adulthood is stressful enough without the additional pressures we put on ourselves. It’s important to give yourself grace and remember that just because you’re in school doesn’t mean that is all you are.


Khanysha Coppin
Written by Khanysha Coppin

Khanysha Coppin is a third-year psychology student at Concordia University. Khanysha is studying psychology with the intention of opening a practice to provide affordable therapy for BIPOC adolescents and young adults. In her free time Khanysha enjoys reading, writing poetry and short stories, as well as pursuing content creation.