You don’t have to do it all
July 17, 2018
Every high school student knows the careful balance of managing rigorous academics, an active social life, sports and clubs.
The good news is, most of us are no longer spreading ourselves thin merely to impress university admissions counselors, but rather to enhance our career and hobby interests. And, while Quad Day can seem like a utopia of endless possibility, it’s important that new students are cognisant of this transition period and how college culture will change the way they prioritize the different aspects of their lives. Rest assured this is a valuable part of your experience rather than something to get down on yourself about.
For as long as the “personal development” section of Barnes and Noble has existed, productivity gurus and “life hackers” have pledged allegiance to varying methods of optimizing one’s workflow and filling one’s metaphorical plate. These tactics can be helpful for the CEO of a start-up or running a household; however, you’ll soon realize that no matter how many variations of “the 5 a.m. miracle morning” blog posts you read, the habits of a young professional in their prime and those of a college freshman are vastly different — and that’s a beautiful thing.
New students will quickly learn there are broad consequences to college campus culture. Living in a dorm means less sleep, more distractions and little to no discipline. You’ll have trouble adjusting to study schedules to align with that of your peers’, class syllabi will make it difficult to understand when and what to study, and you’ll probably be darting in and out of meetings for the better part of first semester. But at the same time it means exposure to new perspectives, exploring a new town and finding a supportive community of people who will soon feel like family.
Some of us have an intrinsic drive to hit milestones on a predetermined timeline, while others have to be pushed to participate by parents and professors. No matter what your case is, there’s no doubt you should attempt to excel in your classes and gain some skill-based experience outside of the classroom. The combination of a new friend group, strange class structures and freshmen integration is a lot to tackle on its own, let alone piling on a plethora of extracurriculars. You probably think you can do it all, and you’re probably right.
Millions of students have done it all and more; however, this may not be the most comfortable way to start college. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking an ideal college experience means stretching yourself so thinly that you can’t properly enjoy the ride.
Don’t feel bad for taking 12 hours, passing on joining six club sports and choosing the “social” dorm. College is only four years, but if you do it right that’s all you’ll need.
Jamie is a junior in Media.