By Katie Tabeling
Every college student has heard of the old saying: “Grades, sleep and social life. Pick two.” If you haven’t, welcome to Washington College. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is true.
Now let me tell you a little secret that I wish I knew when I was a freshman: it’s half true. Grades, sleep, and social life do make up the holy trinity of college life, but you never have to pick two. Not if you play the game smart.
Every freshman comes into college with the same thought process. You’re taking only four classes that take up four hours of your day at least. You have plenty of time to hang out with friends, get a job, join a club, or whatever strikes your fancy. Right?
Think again. Here, there’s less homework, but more projects and exams. Those little assignments could be the difference between an A- and a C+ for an exam or even an overall grade. Homework will take two hours a day. If you’re the kind of person who blows it off and waits for extra credit, you’re screwed. Extra credit is slim to none in college. So if you actually plan on making the thousands of dollars you pay to be here worth something, buckle down and resign to the fact that this is going to be time-consuming work.
Schoolwork will sometimes cut into your sleep schedule. At WC, you’re the boss of when you sleep and when you wake up. No one will wake you if you miss a class. In my opinion, It doesn’t matter when or how long you sleep. You need to. The average twenty-year-old needs ten hours of sleep. I usually get six. It’s also a matter of how your schedule works, and how much you love sleep. It’s up to you. But please, get some sleep.
Grades and sleep alone take up half the week, which leaves a lot of time for a social life. It’s not an option to not have a social life, and if you refuse to have one your time here will be absolutely miserable.
Making friends in college is like middle school: it’s awkward, embarrassing, and everyone has no clue what they’re doing. With that said, relax.
Everyone’s a little out of their element. The best way to make friends is by talking to people and joining a club. Instead of saying “No thanks,” try saying “Sure, I’d love to” and see what happens. You have to put yourself out there in order to meet people.
Once you’ve established a set of trustworthy friends, then (and only then) I suggest drinking. It’s no secret what alcohol does: it makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do. Your good friends will protect you from unsavory types of and take care of you. And please, drink responsibly. Always know what you’re drinking, don’t drink and drive, and if you don’t know the area drink indoors. It’s cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason.
There’s about 170 hours in a week, and the holy trinity of college will probably consume all of it. You’re going to make some mistakes in grades, sleep and social life. But hey, who doesn’t?
Just keep in mind that college is a place of learning. So learn from your screw-ups. Learn that while you can have good grades, sleep, and social life, some compromises will have to be made. You’re going to get some failing grades, you’re going to lose some sleep, and you’re going to make yourself look like an idiot at times. You can have it all, just sometimes not exactly how you wanted it. But you’ll be a stronger person for it.