Find balance in student life - set goals outside of your studies

By Gitte Olesen Anderberg 21. Feb 2023

Studying can be an all-consuming thing. Try to strike a balance - then you will probably become a better student too!

Yes (or help!) it’s a new semester!

Sound familiar? The overwhelming feeling of a new year, new semester and new opportunities but not really knowing how to take advantage of it? Stay calm, you’re not alone if a new year gives you a little fear. We want to embrace the importance of setting goals in order to help you.

Set attainable goals for yourself

Attainable goals provide you with something meaningful by reaching out to platforms outside your studies. Perhaps you’ll meet a new friend or face a new challenge to master and as a result experience a boost in your mental health.

Concrete advice to promote mental health

ABC is a model outlining three very simple principles in promoting and looking after your mental health. A involves to ACT, to do something active. B involves BELONGING, to do something with someone and C involves COMMITTING, to do something meaningful to you and to set goals in order to help you keep you on a steady course.

Let’s explore the C a bit further. Life is full of nuances. There are ups and downs. Sometimes, it feels like a true roller coaster for all of us, and it is often a good idea to have some resources ready to help empower the feeling of achievement.

To set specific goals, preferably main and subgoals, will help you control your everyday life (Prescott & Børtveit, 2012).

We’re in the middle of a school year so you might not be completely new as a student. You’re probably familiar with having achieved some goals, others however may have turned out to be unattainable. The constant search for ways to meet goals never really stops for a student, mostly to achieve the best possible study routines. This is of course important.

The simple things are often the best

However, let’s shift that focus a bit! This semester your main goal will involve finding a new hobby. The precise (and simple!) formulation of your main goal is therefore “find a new hobby”. Further your subgoal could be “contact someone you know for some tips” in addition to “research online for inspiration”.

Girl making pottery
Young man making new plants in potts

Maybe your main goal this semester should be to find a new hobby, outside the studies?

So, the whole point here is for you to feel like you’re making an effort by completing subgoals leading you closer to your main goal. You will also most likely experience that you’ve achieved something, and that’s a great feeling! At the same time, when checking in with someone else about their hobbies you might have provided them with a feeling of being interesting and important. A bit too simple? Great!

We cannot repeat enough times that simplicity is wonderful! We’re certain that subgoals will create a positive balance in your life as a student because you’re investing time in keeping mentally healthy.

Remember that mental health can be defined as “what breaths life to people and makes us whole” (Andersen, 2018).

Read about how good food habits can help your everyday student life.

Good for you

This text has received SSN's Good for you stamp, which means that it can contribute to increasing physical and mental health among students.

Read more about the Good for you-concept here.


  • Andersen, A. J. W (2018). Psykisk helsearbeid – en gang til. Oslo: Gyldendal akademiske.

  • Prescott, P. & Børtveit, T. (2012). Helse og atferdsendring. Oslo: Gyldendal akademiske.

  • What is the ABC-model?

Ansatte/Helsefremmende og forebyggende/Gitte Olesen Anderberg, Drammen

Gitte Olesen Anderberg

Counsellor student relations

Gitte is an advisor for student relations in SSN's Department for Health Promotion and Prevention.

She is present at Campus Drammen every day to work to ensure that students have a good and meaningful student life. Gitte has extensive work experience in mental health and health promotion. She has a bachelor's degree in health science and a master's degree in public health science, and has previously worked as a counsellor, milieu therapist and supervisor.