Finding balance in college

Written by: Cosme Lozano

            When I started college, I really wish someone would have told me how busy you can be.. Sure, as a kid growing up, I had always heard crazy stories from my dad and his time in med school. Going into college, I expected to have eight hour long study sessions, and mountains of homework; like my dad would always tell me. While I have had some intense study sessions and my fair share of homework, it hasn’t been all that bad. One thing my dad never mentioned to me though was managing extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. As a communications and media arts student, extracurricular opportunities are everything. They are valuable opportunities for you to learn and enhance your skills in media production, all before you go out into the real world. While those of you reading this may not be communications students, I am sure you can relate to this sentiment within your own major. In today’s college world, having good grades is still crucial, but employers also want to see you be busy and get experience within your field of interest. Today I want to talk with you about finding balance in this crazy, crazy world we call college.

            When trying to gain more experience in your field, it can be easy to lose focus on other aspects of your studying. Because of this, I advise that you start with what you can manage at first. If you can do a lot, great, more power to you. If you can only do a little though, there is no shame in that. Again, it is crucial you do what you can manage. Do not push yourself too hard, because when you do, you limit your ability to find stability and balance in all the other aspects of your life. By starting with a little, you get to ease yourself more into the role. This can most notably be seen when joining a new club, society, etc. Being ambitious and wanting to be president of your club is great. But if you are just starting out, maybe taking time to see how the club runs and how the president does his job can be more beneficial to your success in the long run. Stick with the process, and eventually you will end up where you want to go!

  • Do what YOU can, and do not push yourself past your limit. We don’t want short term burnout ruining long term goals!

My final topic on the matter has to deal with internships. Whether you like it or not, an internship undoubtedly helps people get a foot into their field of interest. Ideally, you want to start looking for your internship in your junior and senior year of college. Freshman and sophomore year serve as great launching pads for you to get experience before you go out for your internship. Once you have secured an internship, it is important to take inventory of what you are doing and what you are involved in. For me this summer, I have been working at my new job. It was initially meant to be just an internship, but they decided to hire me part time. Upon learning this, it was absolutely necessary for me to sit down and reflect on what I am involved in. I had done a lot to get to this point, and it was time to start reflecting on what I need to step away from. While in the first topic, I suggest going out and joining new things, this topic kind of deals with the opposite. I say this because you do so much work to get to this point, to have an internship or experience opportunity with an employer, and it  can be hard to keep it all up while then also managing the new opportunity. Sometimes there are things you have to step away from. This all a part of the process of finding balance in your school life, but also life in general. Sometimes to a do job well, you have to step back and let someone else help out or take over. This then allows you to focus on what you need to focus on, and make sure you can do it a high level. You have to prioritize what is important to you, and the future of your career. There comes a time when the best way to help yourself out is to step away from other things, and focus on what’s truly important for you.

  • Recognize when it’s time to step away or to take on less. Just because you do this does not mean you are going backwards. Sometimes the best way to go forward is to put your focus on what can truly help you out and advance you to where you want to go!

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