By Nicole Viviano
The balance between work and play is a continuous battle in every college student’s routine, but when you factor in a job, the equation becomes a little more complicated.
Every time I meet a college student and get to talking about work, school and the stresses that come along with both, I’m amazed at the endurance and drive that so many people have. But there is a word I feel many students, especially at school’s with high academic expectations, such as the College, need to remember – moderation.
Finding an equilibrium between school work and fun times is simple, but add in friends, family, career development, jobs and extracurricular activities, and you are in for a rough time.
Before transferring to the College as a junior in the fall 2018 semester, I attended community college. I pursued a full-time student credit load, club involvement, a rigorous gym schedule four to five times a week and worked nights as a bartender and waitress – not to mention family obligations and cutting out time for friends. I scheduled my days without worrying about how much sleep I would get and found myself hitting a wall of exhaustion.
Perhaps you could consider it a stroke of luck or misfortune that once I got to this point I had an accident in the gym and hurt myself badly enough that I was on crutches, couldn’t drive and had to take time off of work per doctor’s orders.
At first, I was furious at my circumstance, which cut into my physical routine, my income and my independence. I was forced to get rides to school from family and friends and I had to actually rest.
It took a physical injury for me to realize what I was doing to myself and that I needed to rethink my game plan. There was no reason for my situation to progress to the point it did. If I was more introspective about what my mind and body needed, rest, I wouldn’t have found myself in such a difficult condition.
At the College, students are operating at a higher capacity in my opinion, making it all the more necessary for them to moderate their schedules before a breakdown.
This could swing both ways on the spectrum. Perhaps you take on too many responsibilities and overwhelm yourself to the point where you can’t perform to your best ability. Some may think the way to build an impressive college resumé is to be involved with everything, but this could easily backfire. Promising your time and commitment to too many organizations usually results in letting someone down. Instead of creating a positive name for yourself, you’ve been labeled as a flake.
On the other hand, not getting involved at all, whether you live on campus or commute, could make you feel anonymous on campus. Similar to the tree falling in the woods question – if no one is there to witness your involvement, were you ever really there?
Figuring out what works best for you and how much you can take on is a life lesson that will aid in greater career accomplishments down the road. Knowing your capabilities can be an invaluable strength – one that is recognized by your friends, co-workers and mentors.