For young people who are fortunate enough to be able to go on to college, a whole world of excitement lies ahead for them. This is a new journey, one that marks the first steps toward greater independence and self reliance. As a young college student living away from home for the first time, the most important thing to learn is how to balance the desire to have fun, be able to party and still get good grades.
Learning to find that balance can be a real challenge,and the consequences of not being able to balance these desires or maintain some semblance of a fun social life while still getting good grades may force them to drop out of college.
Here are some tips that are designed to help you learn to create that balance that will allow you to have the best of both worlds, or in the words of that famous old cliche, let you have your cake and eat it too – even if you may not be able to eat the entire cake all by yourself.
*You cannot party all the time!
Just because you are on your own and there is no one around to nag you to do your reading, work on your papers and go to class, that doesn’t mean that you can avoid doing those things and not have to accept consequences for that behavior. You have to do your academic work if you are going to get good grades.
Plan your time in such a way that you work on things a bit at a time. This will help you avoid burn out, and by working on things in bits, you will be more likely to do a better job. As long as you schedule time for your school work, there can still be time left for having fun.
*Learning the art of time management –
If you really want to have your cake and eat it too, the solution is quite simple: learn to use your time effectively. Don’t blow off your studying so that you have a semester’s worth of work to do in the last week of the semester. Start your research paper as soon after it is assigned as possible. The more you do as soon as you get an assignment, the less you will have to do right before it is due.
Schedule time during the day so that you know that at certain times, you will have to work on certain projects, assignments or get reading done. It may sound heavy handed or silly to create a daily schedule so you can carve out blocks of time for studying. Silly or not, it works. When you know that you’ve got to do a certain thing at a certain time, you are more likely to do it than you’d be if there was nothing to remind you about it. Once you get into the habit of creating and following a schedule, following it will become automatic.
Another thing you will need to learn to do is set priorities. You can’t go out drinking in the bars every night and expect to get up in the morning for an 8 am class. But if you know that a friend is planning to have a big party on Friday night, you can spend some extra time studying during the week so that you can feel certain that by the following Monday, you will have finished all your work.
If a friend is having a party on Saturday night, you may have to decide whether you can go to a tailgater, then the football game and to a party that evening. If you want to go to the party, you may have to skip the game. It’s all about prioritizing and learning to decide what is most important. Your school work should come first, but that shouldn’t prevent you from having a social life. You just have to choose the things that are most important.
*There are many ways to have fun –
You can have fun while you are studying. You can have fun because you are doing something you enjoy, and you know that your efforts will pay off in the form of good grades. Sometimes a good time may mean taking a break from studying to go for a 30 minute walk with a friend, play a game of tennis, or go out for coffee. Play a game of chess or backgammon and then go back to your studying. Carry a portable travel game and you can take a break in the library, if you want.
In the end, you will have to learn to balance the desire to have fun with the need to get your school work done. Don’t forget that maintaining scholarships is often contingent on getting a GPA above a 2.0. How you do in school and the success of your academic work may also have bearing on potential future employment. No matter how tempting it may be to want to go to a party or do something else that your friends are doing, know that your continued ability to do these things hinges on your ability to learn to balance fun and play with work and studying. This is a something you will have to continue to do throughout the rest of your adult life.