Knowledge is Power: Keeping Yourself On Track in The Face of Distraction

For many people, one of the most enticing aspects of college is social freedom. Coming out of high school where parental supervision and lack of freedom limited your fun, college feels like a whole new world where you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Parties, dates, and on-campus activities may draw your attention away from your classwork and responsibilities. While it’s important to enjoy yourself, it’s equally important to find balance. Going out and having fun is an important part of self-care, but so is making sure you have time to get everything done.

Tending to your social life is important, especially if you go to a smaller school like me. In a place where everyone knows each other, it’s in your best interest to open yourself up to new social experiences, and no matter the size of the school you attend it’s important to be a part of the community. But it’s also important to remember your limits and draw boundaries about things you don’t want to do. Creating boundaries around socializing is something I have to do quite often since a lot of the friends I have right now are very social. They love going out and are always inviting me to go out with them. As more of an introvert, I prefer to spend my weekends inside relaxing, but I understand the importance of staying social and going out, so I try to do it every once in a while. At the beginning of this semester, every weekend my friends would convince me to go out to different parties and events with them. At first, I was having fun, so when they kept asking again and again I kept saying yes. After about a month of this, I was absolutely exhausted. All the late nights on the weekends did not leave me rested enough for the long week, and countless social interactions left me emotionally drained.

My short-lived social era taught me that while I can find enjoyment in socializing, balance is what’s important. I need to make sure I have time to get my work done and be rested enough to balance all my challenges during the week. One way that I did this was by setting clear boundaries with friends. I’d establish that I could only go out one night of the weekend, and I would refuse to go out if I wasn’t feeling up to it. I also set boundaries with myself. I created a rule that if I had more than two assignments due that next week, I wasn’t allowed to go out unless I had done a significant amount of work on them. Rules like these kept me on track when I desired to go out even if it wasn’t in my best interest that weekend. 

There are two important things to remember, the first being the reason that you’re at college. You came to learn and grow as both a student and a person, but primarily you’re there to go to class and learn. When balancing these two things, your investment in your education has to come first. The second thing is taking care of yourself. You have to think about the ways that you can best nurture yourself during the semester to ensure you can balance both your social and academic life.

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By Sidnie Paisley Thomas

Sidnie is a Sophomore at Emerson College in Boston studying creative writing and post-colonial literature. In her free time, you can find her hitting up her local thrift store, playing her favorite records, or reading a new book.

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