It is said at UVA that we are faced with three general courses of action: getting good grades, being social, and getting enough sleep. Of those three, people say we only get to choose two.
Those people are idiots.
First year it is definitely easy to fall into that trap, and it is perfectly acceptable to revel in it. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite first year nights were sitting in the hall hanging out with people until 4 AM and beyond. Or going out on a Tuesday night even though I had class the next morning at 9 AM. My decisions to be social and sacrifice sleep were excellent choices.
However, there is something to be said for balance. Thought Catalog, Buzzfeed lists, and the like often prattle on about how college is the best four years of your life. Not to waste a second of it. Take every chance you can to make it worth your time. And it is true, this is time to go all out, but that does not mean you need to be all things all the time. Sleep is important. Don’t hibernate all the time, but get your rest.
Here are four ways to know your limits and manage appropriately:
1) “Going to College” and “Going Away to School” are synonymous for a reason. Grades matter. If you’re applying to internships, jobs, graduate schools, scholarships, or really anything, grades matter. Different opportunities weigh GPA differently, but they still count. Do not let your first year of freedom affect what options are available to you in the future.
2) Do what you enjoy, not just what builds a resume. Your time at UVA is precious, and as easy as it is to get caught up in the politics of getting involved for the sake of being involved in a lot of things. It is more than all right to be an overachiever whose schedule is full of meetings and classes and meetings and social things until the cows come home. Just make sure that everything you are doing is something you want to be doing.
3) Social pressure applies to more than just drinking. The other weekend, I had been day drinking almost all day, took a long nap, and woke up with a massive hangover. Because my apartment was hosting the pregame, I was time and time again encouraged to take extra pulls from a handle. I did not want to do this thing. So instead, each time I took the handle, smiled, and fake-drank for a couple seconds, and you know what? The drunk betches did not know any differently. The same tactics apply to other settings. I did not blatantly refuse to drink because I was afraid to speak up or cared too much about what other people thought. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing, but also don’t worry about telling everyone that you’re not doing it.
4) Don’t listen to every piece of advice that you get. I understand this seems hypocritical given the nature of this blog, but remember each person is speaking from his or her own perspective. I fundamentally disagree with anyone who says it is a good idea to pull an all-nighter to finish a paper, as I need at least six hours of sleep. Instead, I would say work on it until midnight, sleep until six or seven in the morning, and then wake up and write it in three hours before it’s due.
Ultimately, the most important part of knowing your limits is knowing how to work around them – and when you can’t – make time for a nap.