One of my more recent posts described my decision to join a sorority, Pi Beta Phi. I absolutely LOVE my sorority and every single experience that comes with it, which of course includes being encouraged to embrace the social aspect of college, i.e. going out to parties, mixers, and other events. A challenge I have faced lately is being able to successfully balance my academic responsibilities and my newfound social opportunities. Even if you do not decide to Go Greek, with college comes an incredible amount of freedom, which challenges the time management abilities of even the most diligent students.
One suggestion I have for students entering a university next year is to expect to have to alter your usual study habits. In high school, I essentially just went to classes, attended to required meetings and practices, studied for hours, and retired to bed, because we were so restricted at my boarding school there really wasn’t an opportunity to do much else! Here at W&L, of course, that is far from the case. Especially now that I am in a sorority, I have been invited out more often, and my usual Type-A, diligent, studious self has experienced inner turmoil: should I go out and have fun, or stay in and get ahead on next week’s economics reading?
What I am beginning to realize is that it is more than possible to do both. I have adopted the classic motto “work hard, play hard.” As long as I have everything finished that is due for the next day of classes, and a solid plan to finish the rest of my work by its due date, I allow myself some down time. I find that I am much happier, and I am really enjoying college life. Even though I am at a challenging and respected university, I have found that I do not have to devote my life to textbooks in order to be successful; all it takes is carefully planned time management.
I highly encourage all of you to allow yourself to explore and enjoy every aspect of college life. It is stimulating and motivating to do well academically and learn new disciplines, but it is also healthy and rewarding to let yourself relax, embrace the freedom of college, and have some good old-fashioned fun!