04 April 2011

{Guest Post} Finding Balance

I was so happy when Ashton from Soulshine agreed to do a guest post for me while I was away.  Ashton is someone who I consider to be one of my bloggy best friends and since we are both working and studying, we often empathize with one another on the craziness of life as a grad school student.  Since Ashton has so much on her plate, but still seems to find time to squeeze in a good bit of fun, I asked her to write a post on how she keeps the balance between work and play. 

Here is what she came up with:

Hello, y'all! It's Ashton from Soulshine.  I was very excited when Jenna asked me to guest blog for her, and I was honored to do so.  She and I share stories about grad school and offer each other wonderful words of encouragement.

I am a second-year law student at the Charleston School of Law.  Law school is hard enough by itself, now try going to school in Charleston, SC, where there is always something going on, sights to see, and weather that is near perfect 8-9 months out of year.  Then, let's add the roles of SBA Vice-President and Law Review Marketing Editor on top of my regular schoolwork.  I am a busy gal.  Don't forget I am a twenty-something single girl who wants to have fun with friends and enjoy life.  The stresses of life and law school wear on me and I have to take a step back from everything.  I work hard, but I play just as hard.

The secret to a happy life is being able to find balance between work/school and play.

Here are my five tips on finding balance in your life:

1. Organization, Organization, Organization.  I cannot stress how important organization is.  I have told myself that if the whole law thing doesn't work out for me, then I will be a jam-up personal assistant.  I use both a "hard" planner and a google calendar to make sure I know whether I am coming or going.  Effective organization and planning can give you an abundance of spare time, if you stick to that plan.  Make realistic "To Do" list for yourself each day in the hopes that you can mark everything off.  It will give you more self-gratification.

Color-coded Google Calendar

 2. Know Your Limits.  Know your tipping point on stress, so you can prevent the inevitable breakdown that is on the horizon.  Because believe me, it will come, if you don't step away and take a break.  Sometimes you might have to push your limits, but that just means you deserve an even bigger reward at the end.  I had to push my limits this past week.  I spent close to 80 hours in the lawbrary/at school.  So Friday, I didn't step one foot on campus.  I had to take a day off.

3. Have an awesome group of friends.  Have friends that understand you might not be able to do everything all the time.  You have commitments with school or work, and you won't be able to attend every happy hour or get-together.  Have friends that de-stress your life rather than add stress to it.  Basically as I see it, surround yourself with friends that are guaranteed to make you life until your abs hurt.  Most of my friends in Charleston are fellow law students.  We have a rule to not talk about law school when we hang out.  This is not easy, but we try.  It is also good to have friends that you don't see everyday and who you will not have to talk about school/work.  My other close group of friends is a combination of friends from high school and college.  When I am with them, law school never comes up.


4. Take time for yourself.  Everyone needs a little "me" time.  Stay in and have a night to yourself.  Go somewhere by yourself, whether it is shopping or taking a run.  Do whatever you want to do.  I think of this time as a time for me to recharge.  I did a post recently on where I go to recharge {here}.  My "me" time is when I think through my "life problems" and try to get some clarity.

5. Have an outlet.  I blog, obviously.  I also workout when I can make time for the gym.  Yoga is my favorite.  Blogging lets me be creative and read/write things that are not related to the law.  Do something that is rewarding to you.

If you do these five things, you will find a balance in your life.  It might not be a fifty-fifty balance, but you will find out what works for you.



  1. That calendar looks ALOT like mine! Organisation is key:)

  2. I really appreciate this post. I'm in law school too and as next year is my final year, I think I will be using your tools to survive. Organisation is so important, no doubt about it!

  3. I need to get better about number 1! A new planner is on my must buy list!

  4. I JUST started organizing an online calendar on Saturday night. I spend so much time on the computer that it is easy to get sidetracked. Thanks Ashton :D

  5. perfect post! couldn't agree more with ashton's tips! hope you're having a great vacay, jenna!

  6. a fabulous post!!!...could not agree more!


Thanks for the love!