It’s OK to take time discovering your balance
May 20, 2018
I’m probably the last person who should be allowed to write about obtaining and maintaining a healthy work/life/school balance. Anybody who knows me in the newsroom can attest to this. I spend about 80 percent of my time either working at The Daily Illini’s office or socializing with its editors and about 20 percent of my time either sleeping or doing schoolwork. We’re often told we can only pick two of the three elusive corners of the work/life/school triangle.
I wasn’t always like this; in fact, I was pretty much exactly the opposite. I used to spend every waking minute of my freshman year and part of my sophomore year thinking about schoolwork, group projects, half-done extracurriculars and internships. Overloading in an engineering curriculum will do that to anyone.
I joined the DI the first week of my freshman year but treated it as a resume diversifier. That changed drastically when I applied for and became design editor in March of my sophomore year. I used to spend about three hours each week in the newsroom designing pages, but then I was required to spend about 30 as an editor. Luckily, all of the overloading my first three semesters with the hope of graduating early enabled me to reduce the number of credit hours during my time as design editor.
Falling in love with work is a real thing. Having a passion take over every fiber of your existence is something I experienced and still experience in my positions as design editor and managing editor. Sometimes I think all I will ever want or need in my college years is managing a newsroom of editors who are also my ride-or-die best friends.
Unfortunately, this behavior is generally looked down upon by the greater population of adults who’ve graduated college and can even be considered unhealthy. In a school as large and competitive as this, it can become easy to neglect to find a healthy balance for how to spend our time. Strict schedules like the ones we grew accustomed to in high school are shattered; classes meet at different times every semester and extracurriculars have quick turnover rates that demand different time commitments every month.
All I can tell you is it’s OK to not have your balance figured out right away. Some semesters demand much more of the “school” corner of your personal balance triangle, some months require more of your “work” corner and your social life will probably change so often that pinning down your “life” corner may seem impossible. But as long as you end each academic year confident you did the best you could at maintaining your own triangle, the scalene triangles of each semester will even out and your overall college balance will find you.
Bercham is a senior in Engineering.