Balancing Fun with Focus

a student sits on a boulder reading from a textbook outdoors on the Northwest Denver campus

As you head into the world of college independence, it's important to strike a balance between hitting the books and having some fun in your learning journey. This way, you won't fall victim to Graduation Google Syndrome or get stuck in a case of Cabin Fever. Even if you've already locked in your college spot or you're pretty sure you're getting in, remember that your GPA and academic standing still matter for your future. Keep reading for some cool tips on keeping your groove while enjoying the ride!

1. Take a Break
Set up a reward system for yourself. After completing a certain amount of study time or finishing a challenging assignment, treat yourself to something you enjoy, like making your favorite snack, dancing to your favorite song, doing some quick yoga stretches or go for a walk to grab a coffee. Try to avoid sedentary rewards like browsing social media or watching an episode of your favorite series. It’s very easy to fall down rabbit holes so get up and get your body moving to mentally reset!

2. Gamify Your Studies
Turn your study sessions into games. You can use flashcards and challenge yourself to beat your own record for getting a certain number of correct answers each time, or create study challenges for yourself. For instance, set a goal to summarize a chapter into a paragraph or draw a concept of the subject your studying. Set a timer and finish the challenge before the time runs out. There are also great study apps like Forest, which encourages you to stay focused by growing a virtual tree. The longer you’re off your phone, the more your tree will grow but be warned, if you leave the app, your tree will die!

3. Take Creative Notes
Try creative note-taking methods, such as sketching diagrams, using different colored pens or creating mind maps. Develop a system of abbreviations to capture key information, or create your own bullet points by using different colors and symbols.

4. Stay Organized
Make sure your study space is free from clutter and distractions to enhance concentration and productivity. Then, define what your study goals are and break them down into smaller tasks with rewards ready after completing each task. Use highlighters with specific colors and sticky notes to keep track of important passages or topics.

5. Change Your Scenery
Switch up your study environment occasionally. Studying in different places, like a park, a coffee shop or even your backyard, can make the process more enjoyable. Sometimes studying with a friend can be encouraging. Even if you aren’t working on the same subject, having a study buddy can help hold you accountable and boost motivation.

6. Think Outside the Textbooks
The Moth offers free, in-person and virtual storytelling classes to high school students. Learn how to utilize your experiences to connect, express yourself and sometimes even heal through the art of sharing. And if you dare, sign up for a local Moth Story Slam and put those skill sets to the test!

7. Give Back
Volunteering is such a rewarding experience. Not only does it help feed your soul, it’s great for college admissions to show your active involvement within your community — and perhaps, help you find your calling! Here are some suggested nonprofits that our current Regis students love:

  • Become a mentor and sometimes the only positive person in a young child’s life, by volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America through their Peer-to-Peer mentorship program
  • There are a number of our community members who are unfortunately alone, invalid and neglected. Help deliver food to those who can’t leave the house through nonprofits such as Meals on Wheels
  • For our animal lovers with big hearts, find your local Humane Society and help shower love to animals in need

As the countdown to graduation begins, remember that creating balance is an important way of life that will prepare you for college and beyond! From community service projects that ignite passion to art and creativity workshops that stimulate the mind and spark creativity, there’s a universe of activities to not only enrich your high school experience but also nurture personal growth, resilience and a well-rounded perspective that will serve you well in the journey ahead.

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