I don’t think you have to have either an academic life or a social one. I will however admit that this seems to be the case most of the time. Students find themselves either at one end of the spectrum, or the other. So how do you position yourself smack-bang in the middle?
Well, let’s start with a bit of self-assessment. It will help further down the line too, when choosing careers. Keep in mind what kind of a person you are and how well certain aspects of life suit you.
You might want to be more of a party animal, but truth being said you quite like to read.Or you’re not quite the book worm, but you wouldn’t miss that party on Saturday for anything in the world.
The secret of balancing both is to borrow some elements from the opposition. Still, this balancing business is entirely optional and it should only become a question if the lack of one is starting to look like a problem.
1. The first year is the time to have a bit of fun. And all of you will. I am not saying to neglect your studies, but enjoy your new life, your new friends. Make mistakes and learn from them. You don’t need to go clubbing every night, to make friends. A shared pizza in the halls can be just as enjoyable.
2. If you do want to go out, Worcester has a fair few places to satisfy any tastes. There’s a particular feel to it, when you leave the campus in a group of 20 to go out for the night. It’s not only a guaranteed laugh and a good night out, but it can also mean that extra bit of safety.
3. Age is just a number. I couldn’t help but notice the big fuss that takes place on student forums over age. People that are 23 – 25 are already starting to feel slightly out of place, compared to the 19 -20-year-olds. I don’t quite see any reason. In our group we had people of all ages, and no one ever batted an eyelid when it came to partying as to how old they were or they weren’t.
4. Once you got through your first year, life starts to be easier, friendships are already made (hopefully) and school will definitely get easier. Oh, classes might get a bit harder, but you know that, right? The easy part comes from the fact you know where to borrow some notes on that class you had to skip yesterday, you have more or less of an idea about how your lectures are going to be like and you kind of know all your tutors – at least from a “hello”.
5. Second year should make it easier to plan your social life. Yes, plan your social life. Because you will not want to finish that assignment last minute. And you will most definitely not want to write it nursing a hangover. So a little calendar and some understanding friends is all you need for a successfully organized social life.
6. Make use of social media. We live in the age of Facebook, Twitter and Skype and 1001 means of online chatting. If you can’t go visit friends it doesn’t mean you can’t speak to them, hear them or see them. Especially for international and European students – the world of digital saves them a lot of time and money.
7. You may choose to take a year of internship after your second year. In my case, I actually gained more friends in that year without losing the ones I had. Fair enough it’s a bit different, since work social life has to respect a certain routine – you can only go out at weekends, and an afternoon drink is not possible – but you can still catch-up with friends on a birthday party.
8. Third year is basically the year where you work the hardest, and try to keep social at a minimum. Dissertation and lectures take priority. If you also have a part-time job… Saturday nights might turn into early nights, with a book by the bed. But hey, everyone is in the same boat, right? So you won’t be missing out on much. And the best thing is… that once you handed in your dissertation and finishing the last of your exams / assignments, there are plenty of parties to make up for the lost time.
9. At the end of it all is graduation. The light at the end of the tunnel. And graduation week is all about enjoying all of that hard work you put in for these past three, four years. It also means it’s the week with most parties and no studying.
And that’s all. There’s no need to stress, it will come naturally.
P.S. If you’re wondering why 9, it’s because I ran out of ideas. I’m open to suggestions though 🙂