Going to college requires mastering the art of balance — balancing late night pizza with a run on Reynolda trail, balancing five hours in the library with a Netflix binge or balancing meeting peers in your freshman hall with getting to know your professors during office hours.
Managing all these things at once can already make you feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin.
However, I haven’t even mentioned the biggest aspect that causes most people to tip off balance: going out. Most students that go to Wake Forest are likely to go out at least once (or multiple times) during their freshman year. Learning to navigate this new culture is exciting and somewhat nerve wracking at the same time. But, trust me, you can manage it if you keep in mind the key to freshman year: balance.
The first and probably most important step is understanding the importance of prioritizing school work above social events.
If you have a big paper due on Thursday, going out on a Wake Wednesday is probably not the best route for your academic success. Even though you may have the perfect luau skirt to wear to the super cool Hawaiian party on Thursday night, you should probably opt for a quality night of sleep if you know you will not be productive during your 8 a.m. on Friday morning. There will be more parties, I promise. Plus, it is impossible that you’ll be the only one choosing not to go out. If you do have a big test the next day and feel like everyone in the world is going to the ‘Angels and Demons’ party, find friends in your class and study together. I’ve always found it’s better to sulk in company while you study rather than be alone.
Make sure you are smart about going out. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning feeling unwell and unable to proceed with your day. If you know you’re planning on going out, be proactive. Put a large glass of water by your bed and a gatorade in the fridge. Keep the Advil within arms reach from your pillow.
Unfortunately, sometimes even when you’ve taken all of these steps, hangovers are still inevitable.
One important thing to keep in mind if you happen to find yourself with a killer hangover is to just go ahead and get your day started. It’s important not to just stay in bed all day. Going for a walk, even if it’s only to the Pit for some morning bacon, will help. The quicker you get your feet on the floor and some caffeine and food in your system, the quicker you will be able to finish up an assignment, get some studying in for your test the upcoming week or get to the Miller Center for an afternoon workout.
Also, don’t forget to utilize your on-campus resources, especially at night. Remember, Subway is open 24/7. Whether beating a hangover means eating a sandwich late night at Subway or drinking a lot of water before bed, dealing with a hangover is important to think about at night. Revel in the beauty of 24 hour subway and enjoy that 3 a.m. meatball sub in hopes of conquering your hangover the next day.
Back to the idea of balance, skipping classes because of a hangover is not a good decision as a first semester freshman. You may think that you’re pulling a fast one on your professor by emailing them two minutes before the lecture starts with a story about how you’ve developed a rare strain of the plague. Just a forewarning: they have been college professors longer than you’ve had a career as a college student. They have heard excuses that you probably couldn’t even imagine. They know why you really aren’t in class.
Professors can tell which students are committed to their education — and it will be reflected in attendance and class participation grades. While making new friends and having new experiences is crucial to personal growth in your first semester, so is prioritizing your education and making the most of the bounty of resources available on campus.
College is supposed to be fun — some even deem it as “the best four years of your life.” Whether this is true or not, you will soon find that some of your most fun and memorable days are ones where you are awake, happy and not hungover. At the same time though, great memories can also be made dancing the night away with your friends at Last Resort. Life at Wake Forest is all about balance. And by taking simple steps, you can achieve and live up to the stigma of “work hard, play hard” culture that permeates this special campus.