To all the incoming first-years, WELCOME! You are about to embark on a great journey throughout the next few years. There are many important aspects of college to balance, and I like to call them the Big Three. In college one gets a “social,” “academic” and “extracurricular/work” sphere. It’s important to remember this because when you pull from one, you take away time from the other spheres.
It’s great that everyone is going to Cancun later, but remember you have that Anatomy & Physiology test tomorrow. This is the time in your life when more is expected from you, whether that be financially, mentally or otherwise. There are students here who need two jobs to keep their financials afloat. Others are lucky enough to have parents pay, so they get to focus on other spheres. This is not the little leagues anymore. Professors expect you to have those assignments in on time, and your club leaders expect you to pull your weight.
It’s OK to go out a lot if that is your prerogative, and it may not negatively affect your grades (at least at first), but it will begin to affect your other spheres. You should try as best as you can to not get over involved with extracurricular activities. Remember, you’re a student first, and you need time to recharge and regroup because school can take a lot out of you.
Eventually most of us hit a breaking point at some point in our college career: “Wait, I don’t want to do accounting anymore!” “Will I graduate on time?” “I can’t do SGA and SAC anymore.”
Hitting that breaking point is extremely normal and sometimes happens more than once. That’s a sign that it is time to refocus your efforts and balance out the Big Three.
Sometimes it’s hard to find time to take care of yourself as you may need to cut back on work hours, club hours or stay in on the weekends to do homework or just sleep.
Finding the perfect balance is hard and you’re going to mess up from time to time, but that’s OK. You don’t need straight A’s, and you don’t need to be involved with everything or work yourself into a frenzy.
Each semester gives you the opportunity to improve upon the previous one or change something you don’t like. Take advantage of that opportunity.
Invest in your education both inside and outside of the classroom. Explore what the city of Cincinnati has to offer, do community service, try dating, etc. Take hold of what will surely be some of the most memorable times in your life with some of the most memorable people you will meet.
College is about making mistakes and trying new things. You are becoming more independent, but you still have safety nets when you fail. There are really no other times in life when you have this freedom to explore and fail.
Undergrad for most folks only lasts four years. When you look back at that time, how do you want to remember it?
As I enter my senior year, I can tell you that it really does fly by and I don’t know where the time went. Make some memories and take care of yourself.
How will you hold yourself accountable throughout these next few years? Just remember, when everything seems overwhelming, KISS: Keep It Simple, Student.
Ryan Spolar is a senior Honors Bachelor of Arts major. He is a guest writer for the Newswire from Cleveland.