Usually, when clicking on an article geared towards helping you make a decision between two options, one would expect to find a balanced treatment of both sides and a fair presentation of the pros and cons of the choices. However, I’m going to break away from the conventions of being a balanced writer and make a suggestion I never thought I would make as a college student. That is: If you have any work that you could or should or might possibly need to be doing, put that first.
During welcome week and the first month of the semester, I would be the first to suggest going to as many events, gatherings and parties as possible for the purpose of making friends, getting involved and finding your niche. Of course, I also believe it’s important to continue to put yourself out there, meet new people, and try things out throughout the first and every following semester of school. However, once you’ve settled in socially, settling in academically is the most important thing. Freshman year is the time to set the precedent for how you’re going to do in your time at college, and it is much easier to botch your GPA now than it is to fix it during your third year.
It is not hard to do well the first few weeks of school, and then to celebrate by going out every Friday and Saturday (or Thursday and Sunday depending on your schedule). The problem here, though, is that the first month or two of school are immeasurably important for getting in the swing of things, setting your own personal standard, and fermenting your good study habits to ensure success going forward once classes get really tough. Sometimes you’ll go out with no regrets, and sometimes you’ll come home with a ton. You probably won’t ever look back and be upset about how well you did on a test you studied hard for, though.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have fun or go out on the weekends. You should hit the frat party friday, or the club on saturday and let loose with your friends from time to time. The important thing to consider, though, is how that will fit into your routine and your lifestyle. While transitioning to college, it can be tough to know how that late night outing will affect us the next day in our new schedule. Because we’re still getting the hang of things, you never know how that saturday night party will change your ability to study, be productive, and sleep at a normal time on sunday.
My simple suggestion is this (and trust me, I’m still figuring it out, too): just sit down and do what you need to do before you go out and do the things you just want to do. If you have a test, do the prep. If you have homework, do it the day you get it. If you have an essay coming up, do a little each weekday so that it is easy to wrap up. This way, you can go to your saturday night fun-fest without thinking about the assignment due at 11:59 on Blackboard.
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