One of the perks of college is having more free time — that is, of course, unless your schedule is completely packed with a rigorous course load, extracurriculars, internships, part-time jobs or volunteer work. Sure, it’s a blessing to be done with the tedious seven-hour school days that plagued your K-12 education, but that doesn’t mean all you’ll ever do is sleep and watch Netflix (unless that’s what you want, I wouldn’t necessarily blame you). If your day extends beyond the lecture hall, you’ll probably relate to the following.
1. Sleep is a foreign concept.
It can feel like a slap in the face watching your roommate jump into the warmth and comfort of their bed at 10:00 every night while you’re still trying to finish the homework you just started an hour ago. At this rate, you’ll either be up past midnight (again) or decide to call it a night and get up extra early the next day to finish your tasks. Oh, and if it’s an exam or an essay? You might as well kiss the dream of ever going to sleep goodbye.
2. You need coffee through an IV.
Maybe it’s not coffee: maybe it’s tea or some kind of energy drink. Either way, caffeine runs through your veins like blood. How else are you going to keep yourself awake all day to get through that exam at 8 A.M., your three-hour class at eleven, your 5-hour shift at work and your chorus rehearsal immediately after? Just thinking about it makes me realize I need another cup of coffee.
3. Healthy Lifestyle? What’s That?
This isn’t to say that you will be or should be unhealthy, but you may definitely find keeping active and getting proper nutrition to be more of a challenge. After a long day of class, work and clubs, I often feel a strong desire to treat myself with chicken fingers or ice cream. This would be fine if I had time to go to the gym, but it can be hard to fit that workout in as often as I’d like. Unfortunately, I often find myself making the ultimate sacrifice by sucking it up and eating healthy even when I really want comfort food. I’ve also made an effort to find time in my schedule for the gym.
4. You want MORE.
Even when you’re weekly schedule is booked to the very last minute, there will always be something else you want to participate in. Slam poetry? I love writing and public speaking! Too bad that meets during class. Elementary school mentorship program? I would love to volunteer but I’m already committed to serving a local pre-school. Why must choir and theatre meet on the same night? No matter how much you love your current involvements, you’ll always want to add to the list and it’s frustrating when you realize you can’t.
5. How does one have a social life?
Sure, you love your friends and they love you too, but seeing them all the time is a different story. Constantly having to turn down invites to go to dinner together, or go to yoga with them on Thursday nights or hang out with them in their dorm can be a real drag. When you do have free time to hang out, you better pray they’re free too or you may not see them until next weekend. There’s no greater feeling than being free at the same time as your friends.
6. You wonder what you’re missing.
Even if you’re passionate about every club, class, job or internship you’re a part of, there will be times when four and five start to wear on you. Whether it’s because your friends seem to be having fun without you or the new club you wanted to (but couldn’t) join is really taking off, you can’t help but be curious about what you’d be doing if you weren’t so overbooked and if you’d be having more fun.
7. Studying is almost impossible so you appreciate good grades even more.
Sometimes studying means staying up late. Other times it means giving up your break between classes or your Saturday afternoons normally spent watching Netflix or catching up with friends. Yes, studying can be painful and it’s probably the last thing you want to add to your already busy schedule. However, seeing an A on top of your essay or exam a week later makes it all worth it, which leads me to my next point.
8. You roll your eyes when someone tells you “you can’t do everything.”
Obviously you shouldn’t take on more than you can handle, but the amount of rigor, stress and commitment one can take is different for everyone. Maybe you don’t think you can commit to club meetings and a part time job on top of class and that’s perfectly fine. Knowing your limits is a very admirable quality. For those of us who are ambitious and passionate, taking risks and pushing our limits comes naturally. “Doing everything” is what allows us to learn, grow and take advantage of every opportunity offered to us. Sure it’s a lot sometimes, but you have to make sacrifices to get what you want. Not having as much free time is a price I’m willing to pay.
9. Venting is your go-to way to relieve stress.
You may not be a bitter, whiny person, but sometimes it’s nice to get all your frustration off your chest. I don’t like to think of it as complaining; sometimes you need to talk about things that are bothering you or stressing you out — it’s natural. Be grateful for the friends that listen to you while you rant and rave about that tough professor, that inconvenient deadline or the extra long meeting you have to attend later. They’re the real MVPs.
10. You may have regrets sometimes, but really, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
At the end of the day, you like keeping busy. You love what you do. Whether it’s because it allows you to express yourself, make a difference, learn and grow or get you closer to your dreams, the schedule you’ve committed to is jam-packed with activities, classes and experiences you’re truly passionate about, and really, what could be better than that?
Being busy can be hectic but you’ll never have a dull moment and you’ll never find yourself feeling bored or apathetic. Be proud of your accomplishments and always remember to save some time for self-care and social obligations. Someday you’ll look back and be proud of yourself.
Lead Image Credit: mpclemens via Flickr Creative Commons