Stop and Smell the Buffers

Note: I have lots of thoughts and they like to all come out at the same time. I attempted to organize them the best I could into a cohesive, focused blog post, but alas the lots of thoughts may have won this battle.

Time, the universal limiting factor of just about everything and I’m sure every college student can agree that they always feel like they are needing more. Your first year of college, especially living in the dorms, flyers are being thrown at you and posted on your door every minute of every hour inviting you to academic clubs, sports games, student government, cultural events, volunteer organizations, etc. and it all seems so fun and exciting and you want to try everything you can, until you realize that you’re in college and you have classes, possibly a job, maybe a social life, and if you’re really weird, a biological need to sleep.

Last year, I did try to do everything and it was a blast and I enjoyed every new experience, however, it was also impractical to keep up. I was getting less than five hours of sleep on average, I was irritable, I was stress eating A LOT, and maybe I cried a few times because I bombed my physics final winter quarter.  This year, I knew I needed to make a decision about what I really loved enough to continue for the sake of my mental health and my thighs. Luckily for you, the reader, research remained worthy of my time, so here I am sharing my experience with anyone that knows how to use the internet. If this is the first blog post of mine you’re reading, I’ll give you a little background about myself, I’m a second year biology major, I have three jobs on campus, I’m on the UCSB Women’s Rowing Team, I volunteer weekly with elementary school students in Goleta, and I have a terrible guilty pleasure for Bravo reality TV shows. Those are all the things I decided were important enough to squeeze into my schedule this year in my effort to cut back and prioritize and so far, so good. Since the beginning of summer, I’ve lost ten pounds while gaining an immense amount of muscles, I go to bed around 9:30/10:00pm on a regular basis, I got promoted at two of my jobs, and I’m all caught up on the Real Housewives of Orange County.

I think the point I am trying to make with my incessant listing of all of my commitments and involvements is that the value of college lies so much in the overall experience in addition to the education and you should do everything you can to optimized the time. Never else in my life will I be granted the opportunity to be completely submerged in a lab after having essentially zero relevant experience or travel across the country competing in a sport that I learned just over 6 months beforehand. So many students get lost in the competition of academics and have their sights focused on graduating and getting their dream job but they miss out on all the dreams they could be living out while they’re still in school. While research does look incredible on a résumé, no one should do it solely for this reason. I continue to do research because I know it makes me happy, in addition to being invaluable experience that teaches me something new every time I go to lab that I can use in the future which is something mindlessly studying to get A’s can’t do.

If you don’t learn how to prioritize what you want out of your college experience and budget your time accordingly, you’re going to have a bad time. If you seek out a few things you’re passionate for and devote yourself to them rather than just trying to do all the things you “like”, you’re going to be able to enjoy what you’re doing as well as prosper and excel in those areas.