An important part of life is being able to prioritize and what better way to learn this skill than being thrown into the hectic life-training arena called “college?” College is a wonderful time to explore all of your gifts and talents, to learn from and teach others, and to explore your identity, both socially and professionally. What comes with this golden opportunity, however, are little words called responsibility and sacrifice. We do this every day in the micro levels of our lives to better prepare us or benefit us on the macro level. Attending college is not a simple task. It requires dedication, commitment and economic and social sacrifice, but college can also be the best four years of someone’s life, filled with everlasting memories, friendships and a boatload of fun.
What is Greek Life?
Enter in greek life, better referred to as sororities and fraternities, which are philanthropic collegiate organizations that have been in circulation for hundreds of years now, and are now more widely known for throwing off the wall bangers, formals and other social festivities. Balancing this and other social events with academics can be a challenge, but with the right tips and tricks can make the average college student’s calendar seem more manageable. Here are a few ways to balance work, school and social life to create your quintessential, enjoyable college experience:
Live By Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Sounds cheesy, but it works).
Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, published a theory in the early 1950’s that supported the idea that humans are motivated by our basic needs of survival. The needs in order are: Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love and belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. Safety needs encompasses personal security, employment, resources, health and property, while Love and belonging encompass friendship, intimacy, family and sense of connection. Examining these basic human needs and what they entail can help us make informed, healthy decisions in the grand scheme of things. Skipping a few hours of sleep the night before a final exam for the Thursday night frat party may seem fun and thrilling in the moment but will ultimately hurt you more in the end or may fail to help you meet the grade minimum for a future class, putting the progress of your degree off track. While a sense of connection, i.e. the social scene of college, may be important, the purpose of a college education ultimately endorses the foremost human need of personal security and future employment. Becoming aware of this larger picture can help guide last minute decisions on options that may be difficult to weigh in the moment.
Set Healthy Habits
The younger you are, the easier it is to set and maintain healthy habits that you can apply throughout your life. Establishing discipline in your school life will translate later on into adulthood and work life. Finding a balance between academics and greek life or the social aspect of college in general will help you make informed decisions about prioritizing and keeping your attention on your true goals in life. On the other hand, leading a happy and healthy life also is sustained with the balance of enjoying times with friends, living in the moment and making mistakes. If you feel yourself being overworked and maybe even unnecessarily so, it is okay to take a step back and treat yourself, maybe by going out to have drinks with the girls on a Tuesday or leaving for a weekend getaway for a fraternity’s formal. This sense of balance, however, takes dedication to fine tune and it is important to not be hard on yourself for taking time to figure what works best for you and your schedule.
Get Your Money’s Worth
If you do happen to be in a sorority or fraternity, those dues ain’t cheap. If you have committed time and money to these organizations you owe it to yourself and your wallet to make the most of the experiences that come with it. While getting an education is the most important part of college, it is also your time to make lifelong friends, memories and to network with people that might be in your work industry post graduation. Keep in mind that these are the only four years in your life that you will get to experience all that comes with greek life such as the parties, formals, philanthropic events and memories made with your “sisters.” Just as you savored in high school the bittersweet moments of senior year – prom with your best friends and graduation day – college has its own moments to savor that are just as fleeting.
Know When to Take Time for Yourself
Almost every college graduate can say they have spent late hours into the morning cramming at the library or working tirelessly on a group project just to earn that “A+,” but not everyone can reminisce on the memories they made at a formal in Canada, spring break trips to Fort Lauderdale or pulling all-nighters with your best friends. If you have the opportunity to do these things, many would agree that they can make a college experience more eventful and exciting. Knowing when to take time for yourself after a period of productivity is key to achieving the balance that will bring happiness and fulfillment to your life. Work hard, but enjoy your life while you are young, especially those moments you know you can never get back.
The Bottom Line
In essence, these suggestions in a bottle come down to moderation; knowing when to put your foot down and when to let loose, maintaining diligence, patience and discipline with yourself, but not letting any one part of your life control all the others. Hard work will always be respected by your peers and mentors and feel fulfilling to yourself, but remember that your teens and twenties are also for enjoyment and discovering who you are, whether that be through greek life or other social engagements. Learning how to find balance in your life takes time, but with diligence and practice, you can become a master at it and be the best boss of yourself in all facets of your life.