The College Predicament: awesome grades or awesome friends?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:36 am 
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When I first started college, I was feeling really optimistic about the future. On the first night in my dorm, as I stared at the ceiling on my bed with my arms crossed behind my head, I imagined myself making a ton of friends, meeting a lot of girls, partying on a Friday night, and pretty much being the shit.

But then... reality hit.

Due to my major being biochemistry (dear God) and minor in food science, it's to be expected that I'll be working my ass off in order for me to get awesome grades in the really hard classes (organic chemistry, calculus II, etc.); but at the same time, I also want to work my ass off on improving my social life (making friends, building attraction, etc.).

I can imagine myself standing at a fork in the road where one path leads to good grades but no friends, while the other path has poor grades but friends in general.

You can always balance the two! That may be true, but the classes I'm going to need to take are extremely demanding and would require me to spend endless hours studying for the exams. Even as I write this post, I'm studying for a chemistry exam that's three weeks from now.

It's always been frustrating for me to constantly shelf my social life away when getting good grades become a top priority. I put my nose in the books throughout high school and found myself tossing my graduating cap in the air alone while I jealously looked on as my other classmates congratulated each other and invited each other to their pool parties. But hey, I got accepted at the state university of NJ that's pretty much forcing me to shelf my social life again.

Maybe I'm just feeling stressed out because of exams, or maybe there's a mid-life crisis that exists for people who turn 21 by the end of the year. But my main point is what you guys think is more important: grades or friends?

"I've learned it's important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is." - Ryan Gosling

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:33 pm 
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At work so I'll be brief.

Read 'How to Conquer your campus' if you haven't already its awesome.

To get a better social life you need to just create a social environment for yourself - which is relatively easy at College.

Join clubs, sports teams and talk to your friends friends (network). If a new opportunity comes knocking say yes to it, find the time, don't sit on your ass getting high and playing video games (which yes can be cool, but you want to create your awesome social life first). Just focus on meeting people, the rest will happen without too much work.

Being popular(knowing lots of people rather than getting them to like you), social and a throwing parties is 90% of winning at college.

I've done 7 years of University and have studied Nuclear Engineering the whole time, so it's possible. Just prioritise. If you have any specific questions just PM me.


PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:33 am 
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I'm currently in college myself and I've dealt with some of the classes you are talking about.

First off, understand that there is a limit to how much studying helps. Studying for 5 hours a day isn't going to do you any good since there is a limit to how much you can absorb in one sitting, so see where your limit is (a quick study of short term memory and memorization techniques may help. I suggest the method of loci, but ymmv). When you make up your schedule (it seems like you already have, so keep this in mind for the future) try and get a weekday off.

Also understand that summer school isn't just for people who fail classes. It is a great time to take BS courses, so you might look into what classes are offered durning the summer. If they offer Organic Chem during the summer, then take it then and lighten your load durning the fall and spring semesters. This will, of course, take up your summer but it does help level out the workload, as well as keeping the material fresher in your mind since you are doing something with it constantly instead of shelving it for several months between semesters.

Also limit the number of 'hard' courses you end up taking. What defines hard depends on the person, but I usually try to grab 2 harder coures and 2 light classes (like Calc, Chem, History, and English).

Depending on how the classes are setup, doing something to improve your reading speed may help. I know it won't help with most math courses, but anything that frees up time from spending ages reading a chunk of a book means more time for your friends.

There is also the option to try and setup a study group, or join one if there is one there already. If you are just looking for friends, then this is ideal since it lets one combine studying and socialization, and makes life a little easier since you are also developing a social circle with a very obvious common interest.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:36 am 
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I'm currently in college as well and it's definitely about a balance. You make time for what's important to you. I would suggest taking a light course load one semster and set the seeds for your social life. I.e find clubs your passionate about, find frats etc. if you plant the seeds early you can enjoy a slow but assured bloom in the future when you are more busy. That's the route I took and now even though I'm currently studying for two test I still have party plans on the weekend.

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