Am I taking school too seriously?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:01 AM GMT
    College has been really stressful for me recently. I feel like I don't have any free time anymore since I'm always busy with course work. I work also, so that limits my time further.

    My friends invited me to this party yesterday and a game night today, and I really wanted to go. But I stayed behind to study for both days since I have tests coming up. Now they're posting pictures/statuses on fb about how yesterday and today was such a great time, and I feel bad. Partly because I wasn't there and missed the fun and partly because I feel like a jerk for ditching them every time they invite me.

    My major is comp sci, so I kinda expected a heavy course load when I chose the major. But now I feel like I'm working too hard and I'm missing the "fun" in the college experience. Not only that, but staying up late most nights has taken a toll on me physically since I'm not getting enough sleep, and that directly affects my workout and progress.

    For all you current students and graduates, how do you balance your time between school, work, and a social life? Should I just lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously? I feel like a hermit since I don't remember the last time I did something big with my friends and had fun...



    tl;dr
    demotivational-posters-college.jpg
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:12 AM GMT
    I did not party while in college because I am not into the scene. I focused on school, some friends, and other things that interested me. Remember that in college friends often come and go. You may not end up seeing them or even talking to them after you graduate. Focus on the things that will carry you far. What things? That is left to you to decide. But party a bit too if you have time. It can be fun.
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:16 AM GMT
    college is messed up sometimes. classes, study time, work and still having a social life require many of the skills u'll use the rest of ur life--namely time management and scheduling.

    have u tried making "dates" w/ urself? as in putting in extra time on certain days so that u have a few/several hrs 2 do w/e the heck u want. ex: sunday afternoons thru friday afternoons r school and work days. friday evenings, all day saturday, and sunday mornings r when i play, hang, sleep, mess around, and do fam stuff.

  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Oct 16, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    It's OK. You are there to earn the best possible grade you can get. If you can find time to enjoy your life, that's great but that is not your purpose there. Your friends are not going to help get you A's or keep that 4.0 GPA. Your friends are not going to help you find a job, it will be your good GPA and a good resume that will do that.

    I started graduate school 2.5 months ago. I study 5-6 hours every day outside of class,. Weekends it goes up to 9-10 hrs. Then week before exam it goes up to pretty much all the time I am awake besides daily necessities. I spend any leftover time with my family.

    Do try to find a balance where you can sleep and have time left over for exercise and relaxation time.
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    Oct 16, 2011 2:58 PM GMT

    Question : What do you want to do with your life post study?

    If you can answer this question confidently then you can start thinking about which approach to adopt towards your study.

    If you are motivated to achieve the highest scores possible for your own personal satisfaction - then study hard and continually reiterate to yourself that's why you are sacrificing other aspects of your life.

    If you aren't so hung up on obtaining top marks - then let loose once in a while.


    The following comment is part of mantra that goes around all too often:

    commoncoll said You are there to earn the best possible grade you can get. If you can find time to enjoy your life, that's great but that is not your purpose there. Your friends are not going to help get you A's or keep that 4.0 GPA. Your friends are not going to help you find a job, it will be your good GPA and a good resume that will do that.



    You can hear the mantra droning on now can't you?

    Sacrifice everything for study.

    Nothing comes before career.

    Money is king.

    A lot of people who spout this stuff turn out to be quite unhappy. I wonder why?


    Here's a newsflash - beyond applying for a postgraduate program or with a few companies , nobody cares about your GPA.

    5 years after you finish your studies the decision on whether you are employed or not will relate to work experience not academic performance.

    Don't assume that all succesful people succeeded at university or that having higher grades will insulate you from external factors such as a slowing economy.

    Long story short - enjoy your life where possible. Sure study, but take time every once in a while to do other things.

    There is always time to study in the future if that's what you want to do at a later stage.






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    Oct 16, 2011 3:03 PM GMT
    I work 2 full time jobs and have 3 night classes as well. I completely understand where you're coming from. If I'm not working until midnight, I'm in class until 10, hitting the gym and then studying for a few hours. So when the weekends come around...I'm studying. The issue comes in that I get stir-crazy and extremely stressed out if I don't go out and do something for myself now and then. Studying is important, but you also do need some time to kick back and be social with your friends.
  • kietkat

    Posts: 342

    Oct 16, 2011 3:30 PM GMT
    Im in my first year of doctoral study in chemistry. I did not get here by slacking on my studies and research. I know lots of ppl that did not take their studies as seriously and the result is rather tragic. Their GPA was too low to get them into any decent postgraduate program. They did absolutely no research or internships. Probably the worst thing was that they did not make connections with faculty and staff at the university so there were no recommendations or refererences. So what happened to them was an absolute tragedy. They did not seize the many opportunities that would have been available to good students and in the process did not develop a passion in any particular area of study.

    When undergraduates ask me for advice, I say to them...

    "Lament is a word I know all too well. Whatever you choose to do with your studies, make sure that you think long and hard about the consequences. Make your choice with no regrets. DO NOT LAMENT!!"
  • FriscoJansen

    Posts: 2552

    Oct 16, 2011 3:31 PM GMT
    Maintain your focus on your studies, you're doing the right thing. Time is
    flying by so quickly these days and in the end the effort would have been worth it when mentally you're at a position to perform your work-related tasks adequately to where you can have a social life with ease.
    The lack of a social life, the sleepless nights are a sign of your dedication to succeed. Your professors will realize it through your work. For me, socializing wasn't important in high school or college. I would not trade personal success for friends, they come and go. I knew better and was never easily influenced. I urge this to my younger brother as well.
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    Oct 16, 2011 3:35 PM GMT
    Well ... u gotta take college serious to achieve something ... just wait till ur done .. then party as much as u want !
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    Oct 16, 2011 3:41 PM GMT
    Being serious in college will never hurt you. I was the same as you in college, my major was Comp Sci too. I missed all major events and parties and my friends called me socially challenged for doing that. Though I think that I could have managed a little better and went to some of those events, so if you have fun stuff happening when there are no tests take time out and go.
    You won't believe but in my last semester I went onto eating only one meal, that was dinner, so that I won't feel sleepy during the day. Crazy. I was skinny as hell by the time I was done but I graduated with honors and top of my class. Not saying it was the best idea but being serious did pay off.
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    Oct 16, 2011 4:54 PM GMT
    Focus your time and energy where it will pay off with greatest dividends over the course of your life. In college especially it seems so easy to blow off studying just one night in favor of a super sweet party. But you are learning habits and setting priorities now which will follow you into the career you will shortly be beginning.

    Don't always keep your nose in a book, carefully budget time for other things to remain well-rounded and social, but you should really reject feeling bad about choosing studying for important tests. There will always be more parties later on, hopefully on your yacht after your big IPO.

    Words of encouragement from Dr. spaghettimonster

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    Oct 16, 2011 4:55 PM GMT
    Parties will always come and go...Getting a good education and career going will be with you forever...
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Oct 16, 2011 5:08 PM GMT
    While I would say that you are definitely doing the right thing by concentrating on your studies, I would also say that perhaps you could go to a party every once in a while. For example, say to yourself that you want to make it a goal to attend an awesome Halloween party. You study hard beforehand, ensure you've completed everything before that night, go and party and have an awesome time, and then return to your regular studying schedule.

    You're investing far too much of your life and money and effort into college not to take it seriously. If you wanted to party, you could do it without wasting your tuition and time. I think I calculated undergrad to be like $100 a day for classes, and $200 a day for classes in grad school.

    Also, computer science and engineering is an awful major. My brother did it, and I about vomited when I saw his homework. Kudos, bro.
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    Oct 16, 2011 5:36 PM GMT
    I'm going to assume, for your friends to be partying so much, that they aren't taking a major that is similar to yours, right? Or, even if they are, they aren't taking it seriously and are doing poorly to show for their lack of resolve. Either way, their choices will negatively affect their ability to achieve their post college dreams, having instead chosen to waste their college years partying like you see in movies.

    I know it's hard, I myself am doing Computer Engineering as well as working part time so I rarely get to hang out with my friends but this isn't your entire life. But it is the foundation for the kind of life you want to live when you graduate. So now a question: Do you want to build the best possible foundation and also get your money's worth out of college or do you want to cut corners to spend too much time with friends who don't have as high of goals as you do?

    The choice should be simple. Barring special cases, friends will come and go and they most likely won't be there for you when things turn out poorly for you, having followed them through college. Forge your own path confidently and keep moving forward. Your time will come and it may even be as soon as Junior/Senior year, because this has been the year I've finally had "guilt free" free time while still making better grades than previously.
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    Oct 16, 2011 5:54 PM GMT
    I've been in school all my life. I'm currently finishing my degree in medicine but I always find time to balance my personal and professional/scholastic life. It is a matter of time management and setting priorities. My advise...whatever is covered during the day, study the materials 'hard core' at night. By the time testing would come, all you gotta do is review it. Make sure to find some time to unwind because school would eat you up.
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:14 PM GMT
    Prioritize. You shouldn't be studying all day every day in your life unless that's what you want to do (which is not what it sounds like). I find it hard to believe you are studying all of the time you aren't at work or in class. What about stopping by for a little to hang out? You don't even have 30 minutes? If you are studying without breaks then you may need to evaluate your study habits as well.

    Just to note, as you continually reject invites you will cease getting them, which would make you feel worse when you see postings about a party that you weren't even able to ditch because you weren't invited.

    The choice isn't school vs. social life. You can get good grades and maintain a sufficient social life (no, not the typical fraternity social life), you just need to realize "me" time is just as important as study time.
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:26 PM GMT
    Even if you want to, you cannot study 100% of the time. So taking a break every now and then will help you both socially and at class ;)
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:27 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, the bulk of people you meet in college may just drift out of your life whether some transfer, or a result of graduation, etc. But if you really want to go, why not go for a couple of hours? Stay a little, make your presence know, then leave. I had friends who'd do that all of the time. No big deal. You'll make it into a couple of pictures, too :p
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    Oct 16, 2011 10:42 PM GMT
    Thanks for the words and support everyone!

    I guess one thing that I'm taking out of this thread is that I have to prioritize my time better. Sometimes I tell myself that I'm gonna finish something in a certain amount of time, but I end up taking much longer and that cuts into my leisure time. This usually happens when I get distracted, or I underestimate the difficulty or amount of studying that I have to do.

    And just to clear up some misconceptions, it's not like I'm studying so much that I don't get to see my friends at all. I still run into them here and there, it's just that I haven't done anything fun with them in so long because I have been so busy.
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    Oct 16, 2011 10:53 PM GMT
    This thread is making me feel really guilty.
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    Oct 16, 2011 11:03 PM GMT
    Balance. I've always pictured the triforce (geek...) as what defines me.
    - Socializing (Family + friends)
    - Study/Work
    - Fitness

    As long as I don't invest too much in one, I'm able to be happy.

    I've graduated from Space Engineering. There were times I said screw it I'm partying and took a hit to an assignment because it was more important for me to go out with my friends than feel burnt out.
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    Oct 17, 2011 12:42 AM GMT
    Try making friends with others in your field of study who are taking the same classes as you. In my last year as an undergrad, I had a great group of friends who were taking the same (biology/biochemistry) classes, and we were all doing undergraduate research in labs. Group study sessions for us doubled as social events because it was always half study - half hanging out. The group study sessions were very valuable because I always had at least three other people to help clarify material. Likewise, teaching material to my friends served as a good way to gauge how well I knew the material myself. We'd go out for celebratory margaritas after midterm and final exams. My closest friends from college (who I still keep in contact with today) started out as regular study buddies.