The Juggling Act

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 19:12 Written by  Sydney Corryn

Throughout your secondary education, there are a plethora of duties to complete. Academics, organizations, internships, work, friends, flings and hook-ups cram into the best four years of your life. It’s hard to maintain a healthy balance without shedding a few tears, feeling the earth beneath your feet is about to collapse and skipping class because you’re simply too weary.

Use a Planner

My yearly planners were the Holy Grail during my years at Columbia College Chicago. Most of us were given those lame generic planners in grade school, but never realized their value until years later. They’re not merely for homework and study purposes, but for managing time and organizing your life. It helps to set time frames for activities, how much to study for an exam and when to Skype your best friend. It prevents those typical stress build-up moments where a breakdown is slowly creeping up. Plus, who doesn’t love to pencil in a “date night” or “beer pong”?

Work First, Play Later

It sounds cliché, but evidence has proved the truth. If you make excelling in school a priority, school work doesn’t seem as draining and it’s easier to complete assignments in a timely matter. When you slip or fall short, other threads in your life begin to unravel when the biggest piece is fraying. Academics open the doors for a variety of irreplaceable opportunities. Isn’t school the reason why you have this amazing college experience? So, don’t throw it in the trash.

Weekends will always be there, so will long island iced teas, vodka and boys so no need to overdose on them. Letting loose is more enjoyable when school crap is completed because writing research papers on a hangover is not fun. Trust me, I know.

Try to Work About 20 Hours a Week

Most of us are forced to work minimum-wage paying jobs as a stream of income. Cramming 30 hours into your 15-credit-hour schedule is pushing the button. Working invokes time issues during finals, midterms and class projects. For those who were once slaves to giant retail stores like I was at one point in time, it’s unnecessarily complicated to carve the perfect schedule because of the dragging late-night hours. However, do yourself a favor and always have one Saturday off a month. You will thank yourself once grades are posted.

Don’t Be Anti-Social

Immerse yourself in the full experience. Join a club that sparks your interest and make an effort to form friendships. This aspect of college balances your academics and allows young adults to relax. I joined Students of Justice in Palestine, where I’ve had amazing nights with unforgettable people. Attend parties, school programs, and cultural events in the city. Force yourself to communicate with students from various backgrounds, culture and cliques. Don’t exclude individuals because their beliefs don’t mirror your own. Everyone who crosses your path contributes to shaping your perspective on life. Some friends will become mentors, travel partners, best friends, designated drivers, drinking buddies, and the list goes on. Once you reach a point where your circle consists of diverse individuals of every shape and form, handling your business isn’t as much of a chore anymore. Social experiences lead to new beginnings, opportunities and character transformation.

Be Thirsty for Success

The minute your foot steps on a college campus, start looking for internships, volunteer opportunities and networking events within your field. Be a good steward of time and always think ahead. Internships have the ability to count as not only real-world experience, but money and class credit as well. Success isn’t always about your grade point average or the number of college-activities that consume your time but the incredible journey of growth. Allow your ambition to act as ammunition to follow your dreams.

Photography by GMO Photographer Billy Montgomery

Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in journalism. Her interests range from socioeconomic problems, culture, traveling, dysfunctional political campaigns, and of course, Chicago's nightlife. She hopes to use her communication skills and passion for community issues to create a career for herself.  She will be teaching English in Chile for six months starting the end of June, 2012.

Sydney can be contacted at Sydney@glossmagazineonline or