Thursday, 1 November 2012

Balancing Act

Recently I've been struggling to balance my social life with my studies. This has never really been a problem before - in First Year I went out whenever the opportunity arose, since my marks didn't count. Of course, I did the primary reading for my modules and handed in essays on time, but going to the library was a rare occurrence for me. In Second Year I became slightly disillusioned with going out. Switching from halls to a house, and so seriously reducing the number of people I lived with, changed the whole dynamics of our nights out; coupled with going out a lot in First Year, and also suddenly being unable to tell my limits, I got bored of the whole scene and happily went for a couple of weeks with going out.

And then we come to this year, Third Year. The year when the work gets that little bit more intense with the ever-present dissertation looming over my shoulder and the thought that this is my last chance to get it right and graduate with a decent degree. The year when I should really cut down how much I go out, and instead sleep at a sensible time and spend every day in the library. The year when...I seem to be spending far too many days hungover?

I realised a few days ago that the reason Second Year was a bit of a dry spell in terms of going out is because of the people I knew. I spent First Year wrapped up in the people I lived with in halls, never feeling the need to get involved with any societies because (a) there was nothing I was desperate to do, and (b) because I lived in a building full of lovely people whom I got on incredibly well with. Subsequently, in Second Year, when we all split off into different houses, I had a much smaller circle of people around me. I started getting involved with a few things on campus, but not quite enough to really get to know people properly.

This year, though, I hold positions in societies. I've been in seminars with people often enough now to decide we're all going to go out. After two years at this university, I finally know people outside the four walls of my house. This revelation logically leads to having more groups of people to go out with, and explains just why I've spent more of this week shivering and exhausted than in the library reading about eighteenth century women.

It's a hard thing to turn down the offer of a night out when there's the possibility of so much fun, something I hate to admit that I missed last year, but it's something that I'll have to learn to do. I'll just add it to 'module reading' and 'dissertation research' on my to do list, along with working on a petition to reduce the amount of work in Third Year. Go on, admit it, it makes perfect sense.

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