Balancing life and school

Alicia de la Piedra is currently a sophomore at the University of San Diego. She studies graphic design with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Marketing. Other than academics Alicia is involved in Associated Students as the College of Arts and Sciences Senator while also participating in the Student Life Committee. Moreover, she is very involved in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. In Alpha Chi, Alicia holds the PACE chair position: she designs and processes all apparel while promoting their awareness throughout the campus community. Outside of school, Alicia tutors local high school students in Mathematics and Spanish. She currently resides in a quaint San Diego apartment. Some of Alicia’s most recent artwork can be viewed at

Hello! My name is Alicia de la Piedra and I am a Sophmore at the University of San Diego. During my time in college I have learned the ins and outs of balancing your social, academic, and personal lives. You know those “college diagrams” we all see of a triangle? The one where each point represents either a social life, sleep, or good grades? Who says we only get to pick two! Let’s take all three and let’s do it with ease.
Everyone wants friends, we need them. It is important to have a solid group of people that you can turn to in a time of need. I’ll admit, it’s hard to find time to meet up in the midst of assignments, tests, and presentations. Often people tend to feel very alone at school. The key to success in this situation is taking the time to reach out to others. I’m not saying blow off your studies and hang out for hours, but if you recognize the fact that you have been busy lately, send a text or make a phone call. Maybe even post a funny video on their Facebook wall. Little things like this will keep you connected with your peers, even if you’re not physically present.
Another common obstacle I face is deciding whether to go out with everyone, or stay in and study (a reoccurring Thursday dilemma.) Whenever this happens, I have to take a step back and remind myself that school is my first priority. My parents aren’t working their butt off so I could party every night, they want to see me succeed. There WILL be other opportunities to have fun, and imagine how great you’ll feel when you ace your test. It’s common sense really, but it’s not unusual for someone our age to get caught up in the experience and forget the very reason we came to college.
The last point I hoped to make was the value of personal health. Shower, work out, take naps- do whatever you need to do to feel 100% on a day to day basis. Not only physically, but mentally as well. Everyone gets upset and everyone needs a break. Recognize when you’re overwhelmed and take action to soothe that feeling. Taking the time to heal yourself; it’s probably the most important factor in success. Every aspect of your life will be enhanced if you feel good. So with that said, don’t be afraid to take a break from studying and read a chapter of your favorite book. Get your mind somewhere else where it can rejuvenate (especially during finals week.)
To sum everything up, don’t be overwhelmed. There’s no need to be. Prioritize what’s important and recognize when you need to take a breather. Life will work itself out. The key to success in a college atmosphere is putting yourself first. Take care of you. Once you’re all taken care of, THEN you can focus on everything else. As long as you put in effort you will end up where you need to be.

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