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The ways students maintain a healthy study-life balance

study-life-balanceLast month, IB World magazine spoke to teachers about how they maintain a healthy work-life balance. Now, we’ve asked IB Diploma Programme students how they divide their time between studies and a social life…

They say school years are the best years of your life. For IB students, it’s a time when they make friends with people from all over the world and learn about how they can make a difference. It’s also a time when they discover how to balance time pressures with mounting workloads, activities and life outside the classroom.

The IB Learner Profile encourages students to achieve balance. It helps them realize that by attaining balance in different aspects of their lives, they can achieve wellbeing for themselves and others. Below, past and present IB students share how they manage to strike a balance between school work and a social life.

Akshat Thakur

Akshat Thakur

“Schoolwork itself is integrated with social contact, and that promotes being a ‘people’s person’. Get together with your friends, help each other out and, once you’re done with the necessary studies, go and enjoy yourself.” – IB Diploma Programme student Akshat Thakur, The Heritage School, India.


“You have to keep everything in perspective. If you have an IA due as well as an internal mini test, for example, ask yourself: ‘what is more important?’ It’s obviously the IA as the test you can always re-do. Don’t stress about both because this will impact on your social life. Always prioritize the tasks you are given.” – 2015 IB Diploma Programme graduate Megan Caldwell, Franconian International School, Germany.

“Thanks to the help of my IB coordinator, I managed to find a balance between my academics and extracurricular activities fairly quickly. We made an online colour-coded calendar, where I would add assignment due dates and the dates of other commitments. I then allocated a specific amount of time for each task, which helped me sort out everything I needed to do.” – IB Diploma Programme student Gabrielle Drolet, Robert Bateman High School, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Jessica Alexander

Jessica Alexander

“I was not only a full IB Diploma Programme student, but also a varsity track athlete. I struck my balance by looking at track as my escape. This is what I would do to relax rather than spend extra time unwinding with what I would call ‘empty activities’.” – 2015 IB Diploma Programme graduate Jessica Alexander, Renaissance High School, Idaho, USA.


“To make reflections easy and have more time to do other things, every two weeks write a mini reflection; just a paragraph about the activities you have been doing and what you’ve been learning about. At the end of 12th Grade, or when you finish that activity, and it’s time to write a large reflection, the many mini reflections can guide you.” – 2015 IB Diploma Programme graduate Megan Caldwell, Franconian International School, Germany.

“Share the colour-coded calendar with your IB coordinator. Then they can regularly check in to help make sure you’re not getting ahead of yourself, and that you’re making time for social, as well as extracurricular activities” – IB Diploma Programme student Gabrielle Drolet, Robert Bateman High School, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

“Hang out with your friends, but spend half of that time discussing doubts and projects and questions that are just too difficult. Algebra can only be defeated and tamed if you have enough manpower.” – IB Diploma Programme student Akshat Thakur, The Heritage School, India.

“Support from friends who are going through the IB programme is important. As well as being able to socialize with them, they will continue to stay positive even when the programme seems too intense. I can honestly say I enjoyed the DP because I was able to stick to my my personal philosophy of always trying to improve myself mentally, physically, and spiritually, which made it much easier to strike a balance between my commitments.” – 2015 IB Diploma Programme graduate Jessica Alexander, Renaissance High School, Idaho, USA.

Megan Caldwell

Megan Caldwell

“Spend CAS hours doing something you enjoy. This way, CAS doesn’t seem to eat away at your free time and feel like an extra thing to stress about. For example, if you are going to study sports, join a sports club or help advertise for it; if you like business and think that is what you want to do, help on your school’s newspaper or the advertising team. Doing something that relates to what you want to study at college or university enhances your personal statement, too. It shows you are truly passionate about that subject.” – 2015 IB Diploma Programme graduate Megan Caldwell, Franconian International School, Germany.

“Each day has 24 hours. It’s up to you how you utilize that time. It’s enough to manage between school and social lives. An IB student needs to have the attribute of being “well-balanced”. We should be well-rounded, and improve our strengths in all aspects. After all, the 21st-century world is ours for the taking”– IB Diploma Programme student Akshat Thakur, The Heritage School, India.

“If ever you become too overwhelmed with tasks, talk to teachers about it. They are very understanding and willing to extend due dates to meet student needs.”– IB Diploma Programme student Gabrielle Drolet, Robert Bateman High School, Burlington, Ontario

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  • Seleta Douson

    Yeah, balancing study and social life can be really complicated! No surprise that there are so many articles written about how to do that effectively. This post is very helpful for me as there are plenty of real life examples and suggestions from students who face also this issue. I find absolutely all tips and life hacks very handy. To get together with your friends and help each other is my favorite suggestion from this article.
    In case you are freshman and you cannot find someone to help you, you can also google hundreds of online services like and to provide you with help and just get more free tin=me for socializing.
    Thank you for extremely useful information!


  • Family_Fan^^

    I am an IB approach student from Hong Kong, I studied in ELCHK Lutheran Academy. I am going to be a “real” DP student in the upcoming September, I am quite stressed because I’ve listened to different opinion on studying IB. I notice that studying IB won’t have much time to become a really balanced person, however, it is necessary to be a balanced student in IB stream. So, try our best and keep on, fight on! ^^

  • Maisie Mok

    As a Pre-DP student studying in Hong Kong Lutheran Academy, I think to maintain a good healthy study-life balance is very important, and is a key foundation for our future ongoing studies, especially for DP program, we will be busying in dealing with a large amount of workload and the unlimited deadlines, it’s hard but important for us to balance our leisure activities and studies. We shouldn’t only focus on studies, because it will make us become an rigid people that is not what IB program aims to be. In my opinion, I think being a ‘balanced’ learner is hard, but is necessary to achieve, we need to have a better time management and set up a timetable which can regular our time consuming and clarify yourself on what to do in different time period to prevent yourself sticks in confusion and a loss. 😉

  • Student LING Fei

    As an IB student, i think that education and social life is also important at the same time, it is a challenge to be a self- disciplined learner. Time is a limited resource in life, there is limited time each day, so we should use every second of our life wisely, instead of wasting our time on irrelevant events. We should further develop our time management, to organize how to use your time well by using different methods, such as time tables and schedule books. IB learner requires students to be balanced as one of the IB learner profile, so it is hard to maintain a healthy social life and keep developing your education and study at the same time. In my opinion, we should have a balance life with a statement of “Work hard, Play hard”.

  • Student HAU Sin-ting

    As a pre-IB diploma student,I think balance study is one of the main components especially on IB Diploma students which balance on our hobbies and studies from time to time. To train my balancing skills on managing my time, I tried to construct a time-table however it didn’t work to me because I feel stressed by following the timetable on different activities. Therefore, until now I still find different kind of method to manage my time before the ‘diploma’ programme to balance on my study. I think after reading this blog it can help me a lot on understanding what I need to face in the future on IB diploma programme and what kind of good suggestion can help me train my balancing skills on manage my time when I facing the IB diploma programme soon in the future.

  • Student LI Mu-tong

    Just a quick sharing.
    I am high school student and I felt pressure occasionally. It is kind of a usual thing, though. However, that is not a problem for me. Music, Silly videos and maybe games, these things entertained me. I just have to take a few minutes to do some of those, then I can keep on surfing in my life journey .

  • Student IP Miu-sang

    In my opinion, being an IB student must have a balanced life. Besides from studying, it is important to enjoy our personal life, such as playing sports that you like, hanging out with friends. Doing activities that we like can help us reduce stress from our studies, which will benefit our learning by having a happy and healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, being with friends is a good option for having activities, since we can have more time to know each other, communicate with each other, which can develop better communication skills. However, we have to focus on our studies as well, not only having activities, therefore having a balanced life is hard for IB student. I am an IB approach student in Hong Kong, having a balanced life is hard for me at the beginning. However, I can handle my time between activities and study, it was challenging. Still, I have overcome the hard times such as having assessments and quiz. Therefore, having perseverance is important to last balanced life

  • Abel G

    Balanced life is not easy to reach. So I suppose that time management is important to IB students. If we can manange our time well and follow the plan. I think we can have the life that we are willing to have.

  • nastywere

    I agree with you .Balance life is not easy for everyone to reach.
    My problem is the balance between study and life.My father bought me this metal detector digging tool kits and soon I fell in love with the activity.
    I spent a lot of time on metal detecting with my father.
    The current situation is that I am preparing SAT and I can’t concentrate on my study .Metal detecting is always on my mind.

  • Thanks seleta!

  • Thank you for extremely useful information!