Is College Too Much Fun?
College students may find themselves balancing a number of interests including classroom time, studying, work and fun. All studying and no fun makes for a very dull college student. On the other hand, too much work and time spent pursuing extracurricular activities can quickly skew the balance away from your studies.
Finding the right balance is important, but can be difficult to do when your college’s football team is playing on a Thursday night or the boss at your part-time job wants you to assume greater responsibilities. Let’s take a look at how you can enjoy a balanced college life without worrying that your grades or your social life will take a hit.
1. Keep your eyes on the prize. It can be difficult to reach a goal if you are not clear what that goal is. For college students it is a degree, what comes after four years of hard work, passing numerous classes and getting at least the minimum 120 credits under your belt. Every college student should make reaching that goal a top priority. Certainly, you will have help along the way, but only you can determine within yourself that a college degree is your ultimate end goal.
2. Make attending classes a good habit. Above all else, your top priority at college should be class attendance. Make a point to attend every class and work everything else you do around your class schedule. You may think that you can afford to miss a class here and there, but excepting for illness, there really is no valid reason to fall behind and miss out, is there?
3. Set aside study time every week. Whether you keep track of your schedule with a smart phone app or you use a paper planner, you can set aside the right amount of study time to keep up with your classes. A good rule of thumb here is as follows: for every class hour you take, plan to study two hours. Thus, if you are taking 15 credits this semester, then set aside 30 hours per week to study advises the Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech. Allow 8 hours per night for sleep and that is another 56 hours of your time used up. With 168 hours in a week and 101 hours set aside for classroom and study time, and sleep, you still have 67 hours to work with.
4. Ask for help. Four years at college is a long time. At some point, you may find yourself tired, overwhelmed, uncertain of your future or perhaps you’re battling a personal issue. It is not a sign of weakness that you may need help. Rather, you are demonstrating that you cannot do everything by yourself. When a time comes that you need some help, just ask. Colleges and universities provide assistance through student counseling centers, career development centers and through your adviser. Schools offer counseling and mental health services to students to help them cope with life’s challenges and emergencies.
5. Find the right kind of job. With so many hours devoted to classroom time, your studies and rest, when will you find time to work? Most students must work, but the type of job you choose and the number of hours you work should be carefully considered. If you must work full-time, plan to take a lighter schedule and stretch your college studies out over five years instead of four. Taking 12 credits per semester will help you reach your goal without damaging your health. For part-time workers, choose a job that allows you to prioritize your schooling. Make it known to your boss that you must attend class and that you need sufficient study time. If possible, find a job that can help your career. For instance, if you are a hospitality major, then a job as a night auditor or front desk clerk at a hotel can be ideal.
6. Don’t forget to have fun! We saved the fun part for last, but it should not be omitted even if you are balancing your classes, studying and work. Everyone needs a break and part of the college experience is simply hanging out with your classmates and having fun. Attend a football game or other sporting event. Join a fraternity or a sorority. Find out what clubs interest you and join one. Make trips home, enjoy a weekend getaway, visit your roommate’s family and take advantage of the spontaneous.
College can certainly seem like a major balancing act and it is. Look at your college years as preparation for your career, enabling you to acquire the skills needed to succeed beyond school. Promise yourself that you will graduate and if problems arise, including financial challenges, ask for help. By choosing the right kind of balance, you can succeed at college and finish your studies with a much-desired degree in hand.
See Also — 12 Foundational Tips for College Freshmen