By Nathan Norton
Walking the tightrope between school and life can be tricky, especially for the whippersnapping freshmen out there who have yet to figure out how to either not party every single weekend or sequester themselves in front of the laptop every night, cramming for classes.
The truth of the matter is that a good time isn’t worth messing up all your classes for, but neither is it worth ignoring your social life until it’s nothing more than a once loved, emaciated ideal huddled frightened and unused in the corner.
The task of balancing the two extremes can be frustrating and stressful. Having a life and academic success simultaneously piled on top of exams, finals, and personal matters can make you loose some sleep. Or make you gorge yourself on fun size Twix.
Bury yourself in homework, and you’ll find out pretty quick why all work and no play makes Jack lash out moodily against his loved ones.
A balance must be struck for optimum college living. So the question, then, is how do you do it?
Well, that depends.
Are you a socially deprived bibliophile with no friends?
Stringing together countless hours of studying creates more problems than it solves. Yes, studying is necessary for successful academic production. But over-studying breeds stressful states of mind which will, in turn, actually hurt your grades instead of help them.
You’ve got to take breaks. Cut loose every now and again. Study, but don’t just study.
I’m not saying you should become a belligerent drunk who vandalizes vending machines for good times. I’m just saying that striking a healthy equilibrium between education and entertainment is imperative for sanity in university life.
Set aside time every week for leisure activities. For some, this might mean relaxing with a video game or a good, non-school-related book. For others, dipping Oreos in peanut butter and getting your cry on while watching “The Notebook.”
Whatever it might be that unwinds you, you have to do it. Take a realistic look at your school load and plan accordingly. Don’t have time for fun? Make it. Force it. Forced fun is still fun. And you’d better be having it.
But now for the other end of the spectrum. Are you an alcohol-soaked party animal with more friends than you have pairs of underwear? A cool 1.3 GPA, but at least you’re everyone’s favorite socialite?
Actually utilizing your time in college to learn things about stuff really isn’t all that bad of an idea. The tuition is being paid, so you’d better be getting your money’s worth. Don’t view tuition as a premium for partying.
Make a promise to yourself. Say, “this year, I want to be a B minus student!” or “This semester, I will achieve a 3.0!” Set a bar and strive toward it.
Post reminders on fridge doors, on your iPhone, on your Blackberry. Do something to motivate yourself.
And if you fall off the horse, get back on it. What good is failure if we neglect to learn how to succeed from it?
Without finding the happy medium between fun shut-in and degenerate tuition waster, you’ll never be able to really squeeze all the pulpy goodness out of your college experience.