You’ll hear a lot of people say that college is supposed to be the best time of your life. While that may be the case for those people, I am more of the mindset that college is as good of an experience as you allow it to be. You can choose to focus on your studies exclusively for your entire undergraduate career, but you can also choose to devote that same time to meeting new friends and having unique experiences.
Going to the extreme on either end of the spectrum has its pluses and minuses. The scholarly route in college will earn you a class A education no doubt, but you might miss out on making the friends of a lifetime. Socializing all the time sounds fun, but it won’t make you a very marketable professional if you manage to graduate.
You’re in college to earn a degree, so that should be your first and foremost goal. But earning a degree and having a well-rounded education doesn’t mean you have to forgo socializing entirely. In my opinion, the best college experience is one that maintains a healthy balance between the social and the scholarly. Allow me to offer a few words of wisdom to those of you who need help balancing the two.
Know when to take a break
This advice is for those students who have back to back all-nighter study sessions following by a full day of classes. News flash: your 24 hour nonstop study marathon may have prepared you for that essay test in American history, but you’re pushing your mind (and body) to the limit with a stunt like that! I’ve had my fair share of intense study periods, but I’ve also seen fellow students go off the deep end because they didn’t know when their bodies needed a break from all the mental strain.
Do yourself a favor and take a mental health break every once in a while, especially after a rigorous study session and subsequent test. I’m not talking about a 10-minute walk around campus or a brief trip to the nearby coffee shop. I’m talking about a day-long break, one where you just hang out with your friends and enjoy the sense of victory that comes after conquering a massive test. That sort of thing will do wonders for your mind, and you’ll experience less stressed in the long run.
Befriend a classmate
I think it’s a shame that so many people go to class without ever speaking to their classmates. Your peers can make for some of the best friends you’ll have in college, if just because they’re going through the same experiences. They can relate to your gripes, frustrations, and passions better than your parents or significant others can, because they’re right there with you learning the material.
Classmates make for great friends because they double as a study buddy and someone to hang out with during your downtime. When there’s a big test looming, they’ll be right beside you reading the course materials. When you just want to sit back and relax with a coffee, they can be there for you too.
Cherish the intellectual and social freedom
Above all, I think you should take advantage of the college experience for all it has to offer. Never again will you have the freedom to study what you want to learn for hours on end, just as you’ll never again have the free time to relax and have fun with your peers. College is a time for serious intellectual development, but it’s also a time to enjoy living your life and the people in it. Step back from the books from time to time and don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve to have a balanced college life.
About the Author
A freelance writer and blogger hailing from the great state of Texas, Melissa Miller specializes in writing about the education field. If you're considering pursuing an associate degree online, Melissa's many posts on the subject can help light the way. Email her at melissamiller831 at gmail dot com with any feedback.