Monday, October 3, 2011

Pick Two...the Art of College Life

The first time I saw the picture of the "college triangle" (Pick two: Schoolwork, Social life, and Sleep), I laughed. I would find some way to fit in everything. How hard could it be?

I've been at college for a month and I'm not laughing anymore.

When I was in high school, I didn't have to study at all before tests until I started taking AP classes. I spent eight hours a day in school, went home, and sat on the computer until bed (usually about midnight or two on the weekends). "Sleeping in" meant nine, maybe ten if I had a particularly late night. Homework took a few hours at most. I was only involved in one club and I didn't really go out much.

Take the complete opposite of that and you have my college life. I go to class a few hours a day, but study for so much more. I'm rarely on the computer for something unrelated to class. Progress is going to bed before midnight instead of two in the morning. If allowed, I will easily sleep in until almost noon. I'm involved in house and hall government, and two clubs on top of that. Plus I'm always doing things with my friends, especially on the weekends.

College is the ultimate teacher in time management. Sometimes you will have to decide between hanging out with friends and studying for an exam the next day. You'll have to learn how much you can handle. There will be times when sleep is more important than homework. You will have to figure out how much studying is required for each class and when you can get away with taking a night off.

Add a relationship, writing time, pleasure reading, or hobbies to that list and you have even more of a balancing act. I've been averaging about one book every two or three weeks and I consider that very good. I told myself back home that I was going to take riding lessons at least once a month while I was up here...and so far I haven't even had time to look into the riding stable that I plan to go to.

The best advice I can give is just learn to prioritize. It might take a few weeks for you to get everything straight. You will have to make sacrifices. For me, I have to sacrifice sleep, writing time, and reading for fun. When I do have time for those things, it makes it that much more precious.


Francesca Zappia said...

From these, I'm going to go with "Good Grades" and "Enough Sleep". (I have no friends in college yet. X_x) But I feel like there should be a revised picture for writers. Maybe the College Trapezoid. It should have "Enough Sleep," "Good Grades," "Social Life," and "Writerly Things." Because right now mine's skewed between "Good Grades," and "Writerly Things."

Caitlin R. O'Connell said...

Amen to that. College is absolutely the place to learn how to manage your time well, because it's kind of a do or die situation. I almost never read for fun while I'm at school; I simply don't have the time, and generally, the rare days when I do have the time, I don't have the energy.

But you're right - when you do get time to squeeze in an hour or so to write for yourself, it makes it that much more amazing.