Written by Federico Crivelli, Haas UG Blog Writer
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” -Lucille Ball
Students are busy— everybody knows that. Trying to juggle endless readings, hefty assignments, group projects, midterms, clubs, and recruiting is no easy task. On top of that, we always hear (and should keep in mind) that we can’t go back to the past, that college years never come back— and should therefore be enjoyed. Practically, this means not only choosing classes and extra-curriculars that interest you, but also trying your best at having a successful social life.
Yes, you read that right: social life. That does not mean networking. It means having some— get ready for it— FUN. I promise, this is not a bad word; so to the editors of this blog post: please don’t censure it! As a student at one of the best undergrad business programs in the world, you are competitive; everyone around you is, too. In these circumstances, it becomes fairly easy to prioritize everything else and forget to enjoy your college experience thoroughly. With this, I am not saying that you should sell your textbooks and buy a one-way ticket to Mexico: just don’t forget to take some time off to let your overheated brain cool down.
With this in mind, for most of us Haas students, it comes down to four or five main responsibilities that we need to handle. Namely, all of us have classes, some of us work, some are in clubs, on and off we’re all recruiting, and we also (should) have some fun in an informal environment.
Now, of course I am not going to tell you what you should do with your life and your time, but what I can do is sharing with you some of the advice that I picked up throughout my journey as a curious foreign kid. When I came to the U.S. everything was insanely hard, because I had to focus more on speaking and understanding English— a foreign language— than on the activity itself. But by asking a lot of questions, listening to a lot of advice, and personally trying out different lifestyles, I have now achieved a balance that makes me enjoy my existence exponentially more than ever before.
If there’s anything that can make my life even more satisfying, it is helping my peers achieve their own balance and their own happiness. So, to conclude, here are my top 3 suggestions to achieve the balance that makes me extremely happy with my less-than-perfect life.
- Spend time thinking about yourself.
What do you like? How do you have fun?
Do you enjoy being with other people? Do you value being alone?
What are the smallest things out of an average day that make you happy? Do you recognize their value (this one is important)?
What are your goals? Why do you wake up in the morning?
How do you want to be remembered after you die? How do you want to die?
These are extremely hard questions, and it is human nature to avoid them, especially the most unpleasant ones. But understanding the meaning of your existence is fundamental to understand your goals, your motivation, and which activities you genuinely enjoy.
- Learn to prioritize— on a daily basis.
While everything on your schedule is likely to be really really important, learning to discern what is most important (or urgent) will help you live a better life.
My advice when prioritizing is to avoid being rigid. For many students, GPA is the absolute priority, while for some others that’s recruiting. While it is great to know what’s more important to you, make an effort not to be rigid when assigning your priorities, and allow yourself to determine them on a daily basis. In order to achieve the right balance, you need to find the right compromise between the willpower to get important things done and the flexibility to prioritize what is more urgent in that moment.
Always keep in mind your end goals, and every day choose to invest your time in the things that you believe can maximize returns in the long-run. This type of flexibility helps me keep clear from stress while still getting all my work done, so give it a try! 🙂
To sum up, discern what’s most important out of every day by learning to listen to your body, trusting your instincts, and also asking other people’s opinion: even if you disagree with them, you’d be surprised how much others can help you figure out your own thoughts.
- Work comes before play.
I spent enough time stressing the importance of incorporating time off into your schedule, but do keep in mind that relaxing and having fun should also be a way to reward yourself for being a diligent and committed student.
In fact, learning to prioritize also means being able to sacrifice. As my coach taught me, “nothing really worth having comes without struggle.” You need to be able to recognize what things are most important in order to achieve your goals and to prioritize them above anything else. Thus, that additional hour of sleep, that night out with your buddies, and that afternoon of laziness should only come after you are confident that you can reasonably take care of your duties. Working hard to get your job done should give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
So give yourself some credit for how much you have already achieved so far. Spend time with your friends; pay attention to the great things that are happening to you; and don’t ever forget your purpose.
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