BYU students learn to find balance for fall 2022 semester

A student studies in the BYU Wilkinson Student Center. School work is one of the many responsibilities students learn to balance in college. (Hannah LeSueur)

BYU students and faculty shared how it is possible to find a balance between work, school and relationships, especially at the start of a new semester.

Students busily walk on campus. Balancing classes, work, and other responsibilities, these students always have somewhere to be. (Hannah LeSueur)

BYU Student Employment Manager Marden Clark shared his thoughts on managing his time with a busy schedule and full-time job. 

“There’s no such thing as balance,” Clark said, quoting a video Elder David A. Bednar posted in April 2021. “We tend to run around thinking that we are somehow going to keep a certain amount of time for everything to be perfectly balanced.”

Clark said he often reflects on an analogy Elder Bednar gave in the video. The analogy compares an acrobat that balances spinning plates on sticks to the challenge of trying to balance life.

A student works at The Sweet Stop in the BYU Bookstore. Jobs are one of the many responsibilities that students learn to balance in college. (Hannah LeSueur)

“His point was that you have priorities, and when the plate that’s a priority is about to fall, you spin it again,” Clark said. “You need to make sure you’re spinning the plates that are the most important. Even though one plate is going to get more wobbly, you spin the one that’s more important.”

Joseph Boris, a BYU junior studying finance, said he believes too much of anything is a bad thing.

A BYU Outdoors Unlimited employee promotes an event. Jobs are one of the many responsibilities that students learn to balance in college. (Hannah LeSueur)

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that every single week of your life has to look exactly the same and all your priorities deserve the same amount of time,” Boris said. “What’s going to be the most important thing you need to get done one week is going to change from what’s the most important thing to get done the next week.”

Gianna Culley, a junior in BYU’s Experience Design and Management program, said she’s seen how being unbalanced has led her to feel out of control.

“When you’re not organized and things aren’t done in order, it can be too much,” Culley said. “That’s when you shut down.”

Culley said she overcomes this by consciously setting aside time to work on her projects. That way, she does not get overwhelmed with everything she has to do.

The BYU Student Employment Center assists students with on-campus jobs. Work is one of the many responsibilities that students learn to balance in college.(Hannah LeSueur)

“I personally like to set aside blocks of time where I am productive,” Culley said. “It’s usually helpful to set aside time where I don’t have access to distractions.”

Boris said he finds that when he is balanced in his life, he has a lot more energy to finish everything, even if he has to add more to his plate.

“The better things are balanced, then everything else that you need to get done comes easier,” Boris said. “Your workload maybe doesn’t change, but if you feel like you’re doing well, you’re going to find that the tasks you have to finish will be easier to do.”

Clark said he sees the value in making sure that students are not stretched too thin, especially when it comes to balancing work with school.

“Our focus here at BYU is education,” Clark said. “That’s why we only allow students to work 20 hours a week.”

Students often feel that teachers are only there to give them a bad grade, Boris said. It is easy to get lost in the assignments, deadlines, tests and projects; however, Boris believes BYU has a much more positive perspective on student learning.

A banner on BYU campus advertises the annual Clubs Rush. Students often attend clubs in addition to school, work, and other responsibilities. (Hannah LeSueur)

“Everyone here — all the teachers, all the faculty — they want you to succeed,” Boris said. “Don’t forget that everyone here and BYU as a whole is designed to help you succeed. Don’t lose sight of that.”

Culley talked about how important it was for her to find joy throughout her life despite everything going on, especially as a freshman starting college.

“Get involved as much as you can, even though you’re new and it may be very uncomfortable for you,” Culley said. “The whole college experience is getting involved and trying to meet people. Put yourself out there. Take every opportunity to have fun.”

Clark, when reflecting on his purpose as a BYU employee, shared insights on what matters to him amidst a busy college schedule.

“Be in the moment,” Clark said. “When you’re at work, work hard. When you’re studying, focus on that. When you’re with your family, be all engaged in that and don’t let other things creep in.”

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