Hi everyone, I am an upcoming senior in college and wanted to see if I could receive any feedback on pursuing good grades vs. pursuing a social life. Throughout my whole time in college I have put almost all of my time into my grades and have a 3.777 GPA overall and a 3.852 GPA within classes for my major, I have made the dean’s list every semester and earned scholarship money as a result. However, because I spent most of my time studying, I have basically no social life at all and zero friends. I am a very shy person, and am the one who always sits alone at lunch, never gets invited to parties, never dated, etc. I go out for campus sporting events, but I am always alone doing so. I wanted to know whether or not form any one else’s personal experience, it is really worth it to put so much time into getting grades at the expense of a social life? Will be my GPA really matter when I leave college (I have zero interest in grad school for what it’s worth)? I am torn on what to do, because the scholarship money was a huge incentive to continue studying extra hard, but I have hated my time in college. I am studying remotely right now because of the pandemic so I really can’t pursue any social activities. But if I have the option to take in-person classes in the fall if things get back to normalcy, I am considering possibly trying to get more involved socially on campus to try and have the social life I never had, since it will likely be my last semester before graduation, but I do want to graduate with honors though, and feel that it having a social life my final semester will interfere with that personal goal of mine. I struggle to balance multiple things at once so I gave up the only couple student organizations I was involved with albeit for a very short period of time the moment I started having any problems in any classes, and that was the only time I ever interacted with other students outside the classroom. Has anyone else had a similar experience to this? If so, please feel free to share and any advice is welcomed.
I think it is okay, and healthy, for you to pursue a social life next fall. You’ve apparently done a great job in college so far. You should allow yourself to have a little fun. What is your major? How many credits will you be taking next year? How will the course load be? Either way, join a club or two. Put yourself out there a little. It sounds like you need a little fun to balance things out for you. You’ve worked hard, now work almost as hard and give yourself some time for yourself.
Do you have an internship that could lead to a full time job?
Given that you have a strong GPA, you should make time for fun. College is really all about balancing good grades, on and off-campus involvement, and a social life. Don’t waste your last semester trying for perfect grades. Put yourself out there and try a few things you’d enjoy and try to make a friend or two.
If you have the opportunity to do so (assuming in-person classes in the fall), I think it is crucial for you to take advantage of social opportunities. Join fun organizations, which facilitate meeting other people. Can you sing? Campus productions are always looking for men who can sing. Do you like sports? There will be intramural sports, like volleyball, that people join to meet each other. Do you identify with a particular religion? Join the youth organization for that religion at your college. Best of luck to you. Social development at college is a life skill that is just as important to future happiness as is becoming qualified for employment.
@TomEcon2021 , instead of thinking about it as you’ve sacrificed a social life for good grades, you should consider that your shyness is the reason you haven’t had much of a social life in college.
Many students have both good grades and an active social life. And some students have poor grades and no social life. Ask yourself honestly if you actually dedicated every waking hour to attending class and studying and nothing else. Probably not.
Once you’re back on campus, the next time you’re in the cafeteria, instead of eating alone, look around and find another person eating alone who looks shy and ask if you can sit with them. The next time you have some free time, instead of doing whatever you do alone, go sit in the common area and watch the television or read there. If you hang out in the common area enough, someone will strike up a conversation. When it’s warm, read/study outside where a lot of students hang out. If you like movies, go to the next movie night your university holds.
The key to being social is not to sacrifice your grades completely. The key to being social is to get out in the company of other people more often. You can do this.
It’s definitely ok to throttle back a little and try to enjoy your senior year more than you’ve enjoyed the rest of college. It doesn’t have to mean that you let your grades tank or anything, but balance is everything in life. My family has taught me that not everyone is capable of the same balance.
For example, my husband needs 60 hours at work to get the 40 hours of work done… he’s slow and methodical and great at his job, but not fast. Because of this he sometimes has to consciously decide to let some work slide to get a work/life balance. My daughters are better at this. My older daughter has a 4.0 and still time for friends, parties, a job, and two sports. You have to work with where you fall in a natural range… and grades aren’t everything. I hope you really do find some fun senior year.
DD is type A and very OCD with studying. She actually schedules fun; she sets aside time on Saturday afternoons and Thursday nights, since those are the times for her favorite activities. It helps her to plan and schedule study time around her fun time, instead of the other way around. She found if she didn’t, she would never allow herself the fun time. The social/fun doesn’t have to wait until you’re back on campus. Many clubs and activities are being held online, so you can ease into it from home and see how it goes. Try making some connections for when you return to in-person.
Soft skills are just as important to your future success in the workforce as the work ethic you’ve honed and knowledge you’ve amassed. You want to build confidence in your ability to connect with others and how to effectively communicate with different personalities. I wouldn’t consider your senior year focus as an either/or of grades versus social life, rather a focus on trying harder to learn to balance both as “work/life balance” will become more important to your well being as your future unfolds too.
I don’t have an internship, but I have job experience and have begun to research full time jobs on linkedin and have a general idea what I could do for a full time job, and I worked multiple jobs the previous two summers, I was planning on taking summer classes so I could graduate in the fall, since I have been in college for 4 years already. I had my resume critiqued by my college career services and they said because of my experience that an internship may not be completely necessary. Appreciate the feedback! I will consider it.
I can relate to your husband, I need to put more work in to get the same amount done, I take only 12 credits a semester typically but feel I put in the work that someone would for 18 credits. Perhaps I will try to balance it out better my last semester.
I typically take 12 credits a semester, and am expecting to take the same in the fall, I struggle getting my work done at a fast pace and it take me longer than I would like to for studying and getting work done. My major is Economics for what its worth.
I definitely cannot sing, nor do I have any interest in that. I did try to sign up for intramural sports but with the way my college does intramural sports, usually groups of friends make their own teams, you can sign up as a free agent but still have to get invited by another team to join, which I was only invited onto a team for a very brief period of time, other than that, never interacted with any of my teammates outside of that, because I pretty much lived in the library studying.
I know shyness is a factor, but I have had some opportunities for a social life, a coworker of mine invited me to join a club he was the treasurer of, but I stopped going after just a couple weeks because of my academic performance declining in one class for my major, I was doing well in everything else, and also preferred to watch campus sporting events instead which conflicted with that club. I really struggle trying to start conversations with other people, I probably would be diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder if I was screened for it, that’s how bad my social skills are. I appreciate your advice, but that would be taking a giant leap out of my comfort zone, I will consider it though.
I think that while you can take advantage of it, you should have some sessions with a therapist at student health. I suspect that this social anxiety long predates any time when you felt you had to spend all your time on studying. I wouldn’t be surprised if, looking back, this issue became evident by late elementary school, if not even earlier. A therapist will help you to understand what is happening, and what you can do about it.
Having a good social life doesn’t have to ruin your GPA. It’s all about balance. Calculate some reasonable amount of time spent studying for each class (some people suggest formulas; it’s really more about learning about how you learn and about how much time you need to complete work). Then stick to that schedule, allowing yourself free time during the times you haven’t scheduled. Be willing to be a little flexible to allow for some spontaneity with friends and events. Consider also spreading your classes across two semesters and graduating in the spring, if you can afford it.