Let’s get this straight: University is nothing like American Pie.
On the surface, of course, it is. Some of you will, in your first few months at uni, have gone clubbing at least once, gotten rascally drunk, partied like hell and, for some of you, “gotten lucky”. You know, “laid”. “Fourth base”. Uh, “sex”?
Yeah, it happens.
But months later, you’ll find that after all that partying and drinking and sleeping around, that it all – big surprise – doesn’t really matter. Not a bit. Because while you were busy living it up, your lecturers will have probably moved a dozen chapters ahead of you, leaving you completely lost. You’ll start panicking a little (or not), and at this point you’ll choose either to a) buckle down completely and devote the rest of your time to caffeine-worship and intense study, or b) give up and try to bullpoop your way through the rest of the semester as much as possible.
If you’re the chill, goofing-off type, chances are high that you’ll fall within the second category. Because what they don’t tell you is that it is nearly impossible to just pick up your books after prolonged periods of serious goofing off. It will take time, and lots of it, given the major gearshift your brains will be forced to take.
So how can you ensure that university life will still be academically productive for you without sacrificing all your leisure time? How do you, in short, find that balance?
- Set your boundaries.
This may seem like a total buzzkill, until you realize that there is only so much partying a body can take. You are not the Avatar of All Partydom. If your priority is to succeed academically – or even to just pass, if your course is especially hard – you will have to limit your activities.
If you’re the kind of person that has to put in extra work, then you may want to keep the partying to an absolute minimum. But you obviously don’t want life to be dead, which leads us to our next point…
- Work hard, play hard.
So if you’ve worked hard – really working, mind you, not having just spent a few hours in the library trying to study and ending up trolling 9GAG – it’s only fair that you reward your good grades with a couple of days out for serious play. Go out, paint the town red, whatever you want.
- Attend classes.
Forget how many times you’re allowed to skip class, missing more than three can be detrimental to your grades. It doesn’t matter how terrible you think the lecturers are – even if they laze about as much as you think they do, it’s highly likely that they’ll mention important stuff during classes that you’d miss otherwise.
- Join a club/society.
There will be times when you will have nothing to do. You’ve studied all you can, you’ve blown your last ringgit partying (or playing paintball and SW:TOR, whatever floats your boat), so you’re completely free. Join a club! It’s one of the best ways you can channel your talents into something productive. Taylor’s University has a club for nearly everything, whether it be music, anime, or even dodgeball. And if your interests are a little weird, e.g. extreme sleeping or something of the sort, you can always try starting a new club. University is where you explore new avenues of interest.
University may seem to be like high school all over again – cliques and all that sh*t – but you don’t have to fall for that. This is the time where you’ll begin to establish your identity as a functioning member of society, and if that means being the geeky introvert you always suspected you were, so be it. You don’t have to try to be anything you’re not. That said, do refrain from spazzing out completely and being that guy/girl. You know, the jerkface arrogant kind of person nobody really likes – don’t be that. Relax, find yourself, go out and explore.
- Get a job, man.
If you can handle it, get a part-time job as soon as you can. You may not need the money, but it’s good preparation for the responsibilities of the working world. Juggling work and studies will teach you valuable lessons you’ll cherish later on. And you’ll also learn how to deal with difficult people – another thing they don’t teach you in university (unless you count group assignments).