Beyond Homework

Suri Smith '13, Columnist

Listen up, friends. We all know that studying and keeping on top of your work are really important things. Learning is a major part of being at college. But since you already know that, I’m not going to lecture you on time management and the importance of getting all of your homework done. I’m actually going to encourage you to throw all that out the window every now and then. Yes, you read that right: I want you to put down that notebook and do something else for a while. Balance is the key.

If you spend all of your time studying, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the wonderful opportunities Dickinson has to offer. Clubs, lectures, service events, awesome-cool social events (thanks, EAB) are things the college works really hard to provide for us. And going beyond that, if you spend all of your time at Dickinson studying constantly, you’re going to wind up missing out on some pretty awesome real-world experiences. Not to mention that you may start to feel trapped in a bubble. Don’t be in that bubble. We come to college to learn but also to live. So take a minute now to ask yourself if you’ve been spending too much time shut up in your room with your computer and textbooks.

I understand that school feels like a lot of pressure, especially for upper-class students doing research and theses and all those wonderful things first-years get to look forward to. But there is life beyond these limestone walls. I’m not advocating freeing up the extra time and using it on something mindless—surfing tumblr or reddit are not the experiences I have in mind. For example, I spent last weekend off campus at an event called Wicked Faire, which is a giant winter Renaissance faire full of awesome people doing awesome things. Then there’s the fact that the cities of Philadelphia, D.C. and New York are all in relatively easy driving distance if you’ve got a friend with a car. If you’re a little short on funds, maybe get more involved in a club you’re barely part of now. Skip down to Helena’s Crêperie and treat yourself to a hot chocolate. Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Hobbies? Do them. I’m guilty of this myself: I make chain maille, but my supplies have gathered dust for a few months as the schoolwork piles up.

However, getting lost in a haze of scholarly articles and papers and lab reports is not the whole college experience (by the way, neither is going to parties every weekend; seriously, be creative). We only get a couple of years here, so I just want to remind everyone that you really don’t need to devote every second of that to your work. You’ll be a happier, more productive person if you do other things from time to time.