Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Seek Strategies for Success


At Georgetown University, managing the academic course load along with balancing social activities, extracurriculars and a healthy amount of self-care is a challenging feat. Most students find themselves in Lau or at their desks for hours each day in addition to the time they spend in class. Being on the pre-health track and Georgetown’s women’s tennis team does not make it easier.

Over the last three semesters that I have spent as a human science major and student-athlete, I have managed to combine advice I’ve received with my own lived experience to create certain strategies that help me to maintain my mental health, prevent burnout and enjoy my time here. I want to share my strategies with the hopes they might help someone else, but I also want to encourage all of my peers to intentionally seek out their own strategies to find and maintain balance in their lives.

I have found that no matter how busy I am — even if I am in class all day and then have tennis practice — I need to have designated downtime in my day. Whether this takes the form of spending time with friends, talking to family, getting food with teammates or binge-watching the newest show on Netflix, I have learned that I need moments to relax. 

During my scheduled downtime, I have realized that spending time with a variety of people — not just my teammates or classmates — helps me to keep my friendships balanced. At Georgetown, it can be easy to get focused on one circle of people, but I have noticed that when I am intentional about switching up my social plans every so often, I am able to stay connected with all of my friends and hear exciting news from many different areas of my life.

Like its student body, the courses offered at Georgetown are interesting and diverse. Georgetown is known for its core curriculum, and every student here takes a certain number of required classes on top of major and minor courses. The amount of coursework required for us to take can seem daunting; I have friends who feel as though they have no room in their schedule to take any elective classes.

But the truth is, there is a lot more flexibility in our schedules than we may initially think. For my major, I take a lot of hard science classes and labs. Finding electives I am genuinely interested in has helped to break up my schedule and allowed me to take a rare break from biology. 

During the fall of my freshman year, I took an English class called “American Gothic Fiction” with Brett Niles Thomlinson because I have always enjoyed reading and learning different perspectives for analyzing stories and novels. I loved this class so much that I am currently taking another class with the same professor and am even looking into getting a minor in English.

In managing a heavy workload, I have found that organization is crucial. Before I start doing any homework, I make an ordered list that prioritizes my assignments based on due dates or upcoming exams. This also allows me to do a little bit every day and stay ahead of my coursework.

The last major thing I want to share is that having a study group in each class is really helpful. This group can be random; in some classes, I study with fellow student-athletes, my friends or classmates I just met. While there is some work that needs to be done alone, studying in a group has helped me build connections with my classmates and work with peers to break down tough concepts.

The prospect of balancing academics, extracurriculars and a healthy social life may be daunting now, but I’m confident it will pay off. I know that for me, learning how to balance everything as an undergrad will only help when balancing my life as a doctor later on in life. I encourage all Georgetown students to seek out their own strategies to help them find success while on campus and in their futures.

Ashley Kennedy is a sophomore in the School of Health.

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