Striking a Balance between Friends and Schoolwork

By Jelani Hayes on June 16, 2013
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College is a balancing act. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this semester is that spreading yourself too thin is never rewarding. My advice to college students, and really to all students, in general, is to pick one or two things you really enjoy doing and pursue them with a passion. I chose to write for my school’s independent student-run newspaper.

Getting involved

During my first semester, I made an effort to get involved with a lot of clubs to find my fit. I tried out activities like model United Nations, a women’s pre-law group, and model Congress. All of these groups were really cool, but the only one that sustained my interest was writing for the newspaper. I started in an entry-level reporting position, and was only able to write two articles during the semester, but I wanted to be a part of the newspaper because I love journalism. So I decided to apply to become a beat reporter for the spring semester. Beat reporters write three articles a week, on average, so the difference in time commitment was huge between the first and second semester. I decided that if I was going to pursue this interest, I needed to drop my other activities and put my all into balancing my reporting responsibilities with school. That was definitely the right decision. Writing for the newspaper is very demanding but, because I am able to focus a lot of my attention on reporting, it has proven to be very rewarding.

Healthy social life

I have also determined that is important to pursue a healthy social life. Healthy does not imply huge. It means ensuring your happiness outside of academics. If parties make you happy, go to parties. But if just sitting on a couch and talking with friends makes you happy, then you should do that. If doing community services is an enjoyable past time for you, take advantage of volunteer opportunities. For me, being happy means hanging out with friends and just talking and joking around with each other. It includes going ice skating, going out to dinner and exploring Philadelphia. A mental break is definitely necessary every now and then. At the same time, having a healthy social life does not mean doing things that are supposed to be fun but do not personally appeal to you. I do not find frat parties, for example, to be a lot fun. Having a healthy social life also means knowing when it is okay to avert your attention from your schoolwork. Just because it’s Friday does not mean you should let completely loose. Prioritize your fun. Do not make socializing your first priority. This is school, after all.

Striking a balance

Overall, I believe college is about finding and molding yourself. Try news things and determine what makes you happy. Then pursue those things responsibly and passionately. It’s all about balance and being happy.


About the Author

Jelani Hayes

Jelani Hayes

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