I woke up this morning, made a cup of hot tea, and sipped it on my balcony. All the while, I was compiling a mental to-do list of responsibilities for the long day ahead.
What’s the point of sitting inside at work when it’s an absolutely beautiful morning? Why sit at a desk when I can go for a run? Why go to lecture when I can join my friends at the beach? These are the angel-versus-devil questions that run through my mind on a daily basis.
As a college student, especially at UC Santa Barbara where ever-present temptation exists, it is a constant effort to balance school, a job and social life. So the dilemma at hand is how to find a happy medium.
As the average acceptance GPA of incoming Freshman at UCSB in 2011 was a 4.12, evidence exists that we, as a whole, are excellent students with capable study habits. It is common knowledge that keeping up with weekly assignments and reading will provide for a smoother and easier quarter, but when schoolwork gets the best of you, don’t fear what I like to refer to as ‘the art of doing nothing.’
“Every week I think of when I have class and work so that I can schedule times to do homework and time to relax,” said fourth-year english major Natalie Seitz. “I know I won’t want to think about school come Friday and Saturday, so I pre-plan when to have things done by so I don’t have to stress about it.”
Take a break from reality if need be, because remaining calm and collected equates a happier lifestyle. When you feel that your job is cutting into your time with friends, don’t leave the office and immediately head to the library. Rather, take that hour break before delving into another stressful assignment. Go for a run, or even head to Study Hall for a quick drink.
“Even though you may have to miss an event because of work, it makes you enjoy and appreciate the time you have out with your friends even more,” said fourth-year environmental studies major Allison Arnstein.
We all know those days when no escape seems viable- those nights when our shift just can’t possibly be four more hours, when that essay can’t be five pages longer and when the temptation of meeting up with friends can’t possibly fall at a worse time. However, everyone needs a stress relief activity, and taking the time to enjoy your hobbies- on a daily basis- is necessary. Allocate a significant portion of your day away from your job or schoolwork, because simply allowing yourself to enjoy these extracurricular activities will make you a more well-balanced person both physically and mentally.
I like to look at experiences on a bigger scale than Monday afternoon or Saturday night; rather, I view them on a timetable of important periods of life.
We have our teenager years, our college years, and so on and so forth. I know I won’t remember the random day freshman year I overslept through lecture, but I will remember staying up all night to watch a perfect SB sunrise. I won’t necessarily remember the amount of money on the paychecks, but I’ll remember that I was able to purchase Coachella tickets year after year because of them. Create personal standards, a part from what you believe is typical of other students, for each individual sector of your life. Prioritizing activities will relieve the anxiety of trying to complete everything that in reality may be unattainable.
And when it comes to balancing an overwhelming workload and the good life in Isla Vista just remember one simple word: spontaneity. At the end of the day, what makes you happy?
By the end of my day, I had made it to work and put my best effort forth. I had sat through my lectures, listened (somewhat) attentively and took adequate notes. I even was able to read two chapters in my textbook throughout the afternoon. But I also made it home in time to enjoy a glass of wine with my roommates and watch yet another perfect sunset. I found the time to stretch my mind and body at yoga. I researched new music. I read my book for pleasure and digested the news. I finished this article before deadline.
You can’t do it all, but if you put your mind to it you can get pretty damn close. Work hard, play hard, my friends. It’s only college, after all.