Studying seems to be the number one excuse that students use when it comes to missing out on many of the life building opportunities available in college. College classes can be hard; there’s no doubt about it. But spending every waking hour studying for midterms, stressing over finals, and working on projects is not what your total college experience should be about. While graduating with high honors from a prestigious college will look good on a resume, it is not the only thing you need to get a job these days. You need experience, a variety of skills, references, letters of recommendation, and a multitude of other things just to get a job.
Of course I am not saying that you should stop studying altogether. Instead, you need to find a balance between classes and everything else available for you to do. It is possible to be a full-time student, work, intern, compete on a sports team, be involved with student organizations, and still have time to relax everyday. I enjoyed all of these experiences at UC San Diego, while still earning Provost’s Honors every quarter, and I ended up graduating Cum Laude. It is all about time management. And believe me when I say this: the more you have to do, the more productive you will be with your time.
Planning and time management are key things to help you make the most of your college years. So when you are deciding about whether or not to join a student club or take a weekend ski trip, do not let studying be a factor in that decision. Take advantage of every activity and event that comes your way and study later (or earlier if you can plan ahead). And don’t waste your time procrastinating and “relaxing.”
However, just as it is not good to spend all of your time in college studying, don’t spend all of your free time playing video games or partying. Your time in college should be valued, because throughout college you will have the chance to learn more about yourself and find a direction for your life. You should use your years as a college student to your advantage so that you do not end up graduating and wondering where to go next.
If you balance your time in college appropriately, you can have many wonderful experiences and graduate with new skills, work experience, professional job contacts, and the confidence that you are on the right track to pursuing the career of your dreams. So how do you make the college experience worthwhile? Do internships in jobs you are interested in to see whether you are majoring in the right field. Take advantage of the multitude of programs that offer free food. Get involved on campus and make connections with students, staff, and faculty that can help you out. Take time for yourself and relax or travel to contemplate what you are really interested in.
Most importantly, make your college experience something to remember. Regardless of what college you attend, you should be able to have fun and enjoy your time at any college. Your college memories will be based on the friends you meet, the opportunities you take advantage of, and the fun times you have. So even if you are attending a college that other students have deemed “unsocial” or an “Academic-only’ school, you will be surprised how much is really going on at that school if you get involved.