In the midst of exams, football games and social opportunities, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of great things that college has to offer. Students are encouraged to become involved with as much as possible during those four years. However, it is important to determine where to draw the line and take time for yourself. Setting boundaries is one of the most important lessons college students can learn.

Freshman orientation leaders, advisors and upperclassmen all tell incoming students to try every club or class that the university has to offer. Considering the magnitude of opportunities that schools like Clemson provide, students can try everything from courses about human sexual behavior to clubs where members gather to eat heads of lettuce. Getting involved around campus can also lead to spreading yourself too thin. Finding a balance is important for sustaining good grades and a healthy mental state. 

As a current senior, I have lived through the sleepless nights and the moments wondering if I could handle all of my responsibilities. I’ve spent days crying over assignments that were too overwhelming and events I had to miss because I didn’t know how to create boundaries for myself. Creating boundaries allowed me to add structure to my life and enjoy college and everything it has to offer. 

Taking as many course credits and earning the best GPA possible both seem like the most important things when you are in college. While these are important, of course, it is essential to know when to take a break. Stepping back from your laptop and taking time for yourself will give you the chance to recharge. The potential of burning out is very real. Create a study schedule and decide on a time to stop working at night. Rest is not a reward; it is a necessity. 

While we can’t always maintain our boundaries due to exam week or other commitments, try your best to take time to grab dinner with your friend or watch a movie with your roommates. It is hard to understand until you are in your last year, but college really does go by fast. Making memories with your friends is just as important as acing that test and running for a leadership position. Allowing yourself to enjoy everything that college has to offer by setting boundaries creates a more well-rounded experience. 

Setting boundaries for yourself is difficult but it is even more difficult to set boundaries on your relationships with other people. College is a time full of growth and many people will help with that journey. Ensure that you are only allowing people into your life that are contributing to your success and respecting your boundaries rather than people that are causing you to create new ones.

Over the last three years, I have found that the key to success is self-prioritization.  Building a strong resume and working towards a flawless transcript come second to getting a full night’s rest and socializing outside of the classroom. Setting boundaries becomes easier the more that you do it. Taking care of yourself and studying for your classes can be a balancing act instead of a sacrifice of one or the other.

Written by: Chandler Brown