The Freshman Files: Balancing Act

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College is like one big circus. All around us there are things to see and watch and take part in. There are classes to go to, friends to hangout with, sports to play and sleep to catch up on.

How can we possibly juggle it all?

As freshman we want it all. We want to get good grades, join a bunch of clubs, be an intramural MVP and have a fun social life. Each and every one of us wants to be the main event. And we don’t want it to be difficult.

Unfortunately, this is pretty unrealistic. If we’ve learned anything during our first month of school, it’s that sleep deprivation does exist. Not only is finding a balance difficult, but it is also physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. But don’t loose all hope; it can be done.

We have to get organized. Invest in that Lilly Pulitzer planner you’ve always dreamed of and stop walking around with homework written on your hands. Start taking the time to plan out your week so you know exactly when you have class, what time your next club meeting is, and when you have to do homework. You might even find some free time to take a nap every now and then.

This sounds ambitious, but try to exercise once or twice a week. It’s a great way to relieve stress and can get you feeling energetic and refreshed. Trust me, it’s a lot healthier and effective than having that third cup of coffee.

Know when to say “no.” For me, this is the toughest aspect of achieving a balanced college lifestyle. Our whole lives we’ve heard people reminisce of their college glory days, the fanatical stories that made up the best four years of their lives. How can we be sure that what we pass up on won’t be one of those moments?

Most of the time the answer is: we don’t.

This is not just a hard thing for college students to do, but for everyone to do. Fear of missing out on a great experience is something everyone struggles with, and there is no clear equation to help us figure it out.

But we will learn and get used to it. Eventually we will realize it’s not so much fun being with your friends with a paper due tomorrow in art history on your mind. We will just have to trust our judgment and rely more on ourselves to create opportunities on our own time than to accept them as they come flying by.

College life is sort of like walking a tightrope – with many competing activities vying for your time and attention. The trick is to balance and rotate all the parts of college life accordingly. You can have it all, but not always excessively and not always at the same time. Allow yourself some time to plan ahead and make smart and thoughtful decisions and everything will work out just fine.