Opinion: Making the most of your collegiate experience means balancing work, play

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Throughout my college career, I have learned to loosen up and realize that every decision will not irrevocably alter the path of my life. Managing your image and your life is a burden, especially at this transitional period into adulthood. Some of the major stresses in an average student’s life stem from the balance between preparation for the “real” world and the enjoyment of the first few years living on their own.

With that in mind, I can truly say that nothing I have done in college will have hurt my chances for a good life after I graduate. No matter how many nights we spend in front of blaring speakers, there will always be more we spent in front of laptop screens with textbooks in our laps. No matter how many times we think about cutting our last Friday lecture, we will spend almost every other afternoon in the classroom. We will attend happy hours and job fairs, form educated opinions and fantasy football teams, learn the balance between a good GPA and a good story. The following pieces of advice can keep you on the right track, without the fear of missing out.

Know when you’ve gone too far. When you get too stressed out, the likelihood of messing up increases. You may forget an assignment, pay a bill late or offend a friend. While these stresses are small, they quickly add up to something larger. Purdue University’s Student Wellness Office suggests seeking help for symptoms like excessive nightmares or daydreaming, frequent illnesses or headaches, and urges students to cry or disengage from others immediately when they’re angry. You may need to reevaluate the amount of work you can handle, or reorganize your daily and weekly schedules if issues persist.

Don’t hurt yourself. There is a difference between the pain of sore feet from high-heeled shoes and the pain of a facial tattoo. Experiencing life to the fullest isn’t about damaging yourself emotionally, physically or professionally. You have limits, just like everyone else. You should always try new and unpredictable experiences, but only when you are using good judgment.

Acknowledge how tough it is. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is a point system of stressful events in a person’s life – a score between 150-300 indicates a 50 percent chance of a stress-related illness in the next year. In compliance with scores from Holmes and Rahe’s “Social Readjustment Rating Scale,” a typical college student may experience a change in financial state (38 points), begin a phase of formal schooling (26 points), a major change in living situation (25 points), major change in social activities (18 points) or eating habits (15 points).

Combinations of these events can contribute to mental health breakdowns in college students. Any other events, such as the death of a close family member (63), a change in recreational activities, relationship troubles or personal illness could tip students into dangerous levels. It is important to remember that different experiences can affect individuals on varying levels and help is always available through the K-State Counseling Services.

With the new year beginning, make a decision to become more aware of who you are. We are students, new professionals, young adults and sometimes a mess. We have a limited amount of time to spend in college. Using it wisely doesn’t always mean getting an A, but it does mean keeping your own best interests in mind.

Logan Falletti is a senior in mass communications. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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