#1 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

Hey duders! So, I'm about to head back to college after a long, uneventful summer break. I'm anxious to go back but at the same time, I dread the craziness of rigorous academic life... I go to a pretty noteworthy school and the competition at my school is insane. As a result, I spent most of my time last year studying and struggling to keep up with my peers (17 hour study sessions ugh...). On top of that, I do a lot of volunteer work and am in multiple clubs and activities. I'm not necessarily one to complain about personal problems in the internet, but I'm just wondering if any duders out there are in a similar situation? Circumstances where you absolutely want to play games or even have a social life but school is just absolutely too time consuming to do much else?

#2 Edited by Kidavenger (3508 posts) -

I'm not saying ignore your studies, but I think a lot of people in college discount the social component to their detriment; making friends with the right people in college and developing a strong network will help you get a job just as much as your grades will. Anywhere you work past that first job won't give a damn about grades you earned when you where in school but being friends with someone that works for that company puts your resume on the top of the pile.

You shouldn't be competing with others, you should be learning and getting smarter/better at things you are interested in and enjoying it.

#3 Edited by Party (74 posts) -

@kidavenger: Ah, my cynicism rotted away any sort of wonderful optimism I had going into college about following my passions and learning for learning's sake. Don't get me wrong, I love the major I'm doing and I'm into the minor I'm working on as well, but when it comes time to register for classes, I'm always on the lookout for that ever evasive "Easy-A" class/professor. Even if the class itself is something I have no interest in whatsoever, I (and many others in my position) am willing to slog through it for that chance to boost my GPA.

As for the networking stuff, I'm mostly saving that for post-graduate work. I'm hoping to get into medical school (if not, at least a decent masters/Ph. D. program), but the only way to get there is to be the best of the best. What that means is that it doesn't really matter how good I am if there are tons of people better than me (with the way college curves are and stuff). I doubt "making friends" will help me much in the med school application process, but I do agree with you that it will be useful when I'm looking for residency opportunities and stuff.

Sigh.

#4 Posted by MB (11968 posts) -

It may be time to consider dumping all of that volunteer work and maybe some of those clubs as well.

Moderator
#5 Posted by Benny (1947 posts) -

@mb said:

It may be time to consider dumping all of that volunteer work and maybe some of those clubs as well.

Whatever your career is going to be, you should do this and then with the freed up time, do stuff related to your career. You don't just want to spend 4 years in school and end up being only a degree closer to your job when others could already have experience in your chosen field. Work experience is almost always going to trump anything barring the job requirements themselves.

It's sad to say but it's the path to being unemployed with no skills if you don't get your foot in the door now.

#6 Posted by believer258 (11629 posts) -

@mb said:

It may be time to consider dumping all of that volunteer work and maybe some of those clubs as well.

This.

You can try to do too much in one day, you know. I wouldn't ask you to drop all of those extracurricular activities, but I would say that you need to look at everything you do outside of class and ask yourself why you're doing it. I used to know a guy who was supposed to graduate two years ago. He tried to do everything, only got a handful of hours of sleep occasionally, and never excelled in a single thing. You really can't become a jack of all trades in college.

#7 Posted by TheHBK (5463 posts) -

@mb said:

It may be time to consider dumping all of that volunteer work and maybe some of those clubs as well.

I'll agree with this. Some clubs have purpose but if you are in club for some weird interest like skateboarding or something like that, ditch it.

Though i wonder, competition? I went to a pretty hard school and there didn't seem to be much competition per se. And that is also how I had a social life, we all ride together, we die together, bad boys for life.

#8 Posted by erhard (388 posts) -

Quit volunteering and work on your education.

#9 Edited by Party (74 posts) -

I volunteer at a hospital with a position related to the medical field, so I feel like that is relevant to my career path. As for the other extracurriculars and stuff, medical schools love for you to be involved and take up leadership positions which is what I'm trying to do. None of the clubs I have are really social or hobby clubs (not to say I don't have friends in those clubs, however).

My volunteering internship does end in the fall and I'm going to start looking for a job then. I really want a job in a medical lab, but those are really hard to get into... I know any work experience is better than no work experience (and money is great too!) but I'm reluctant to work at something I have no interest in ever pursuing further.

As for the competition... Yeah, my school is really intense, especially among pre-med students. It's never directly hostile, but curves at my school can be harsh with only top 10% getting A's, etc. Interestingly enough, many of my good friends also happen to be pre-meds who I guess will be my competition come application time.

#10 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1037 posts) -

Oh yeah, I know what you're going through.

While I didn't have the pre-med school thing you guys do have going on in the united states, I had similar education. I would just bring along my PSP and play some monster hunter with some friends during recess. I honestly still had lots of time to play videogames cause classes weren't all that hard or time consuming.

The real kicker comes when actually doing med school. It's not a measly 17 hours of studying but more like 40 hours a week. It's 20 hours of education at school and 20 hours of doing homework and studying by yourself. If you really want to just get into a medical lab, you'll probably only need a degree like Biomedical Sciences, which is far less time consuming to do. But I'm assuming you're just going to do med school and work your way from there, right?

I really don't have much time for videogames right now, so I try to play handheld games, when riding on transit or whatever. Premed school is probably going to be much more time consuming for you and actual med school even more. So yeah, you're going need some planning to fit in videogames in your leisure time and probably drop social stuff since nobody really has a social life at med school. =P It's not that bad but I've gone weeks and even months without actually touching a videogame. But med school is totally worth it, you get to play games like find the intestines with your scrubs on.

#11 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (1037 posts) -

Maybe not directly relevant to your original question, if you want to stand out as a potential med student, you should always look for opportunities to help in research. Academic Hospitals usually look for (pre)med students to help them out with simple stuff, like inputting patient records into a database, or some calculating statistics in excel, going to patients to interview them through questionnaires etcetera. It might look trivial but it can certainly help you stand out if your name is credited in a scientifical journal. Volunteering in hospitals might help too, you could do things like sterilise surgical equipment required for surgery.
You could also try to help out preparing vaccines. It's small and easy stuff but anything to stand out.

#12 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

@trafalgarlaw: Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I interview patients and work on equipment in my volunteer position. I do plan on getting into research when I hit my upper division courses (though some of my friends have already done that too...). In the states, we don't necessarily have pre-med school, we just get a normal college degree and then go for med school from there. Though, I don't really want to work or take a break before med school like I know a lot of students do. Med school sounds... Tough... But I always knew it would be like that. Gaming has really taken a back seat for me, though I still keep up with the bombcasts and all the industry news. It's just tough to watch quick looks of games I really want to play knowing that I won't be able to play them for quite a while.

#13 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (1037 posts) -

That's what vacations (and a backlog) are for! Yes it's frustrating but I also know a lot of people who just play videogames all day because they're unemployed and don't have a degree...sounds like not having time for a hobby should be the least of your concerns these days, as long as your employed or in education.

#14 Posted by csl316 (8097 posts) -

@mb said:

It may be time to consider dumping all of that volunteer work and maybe some of those clubs as well.

I was about to say the same thing.

My college experience was kind of insane (4 year degree in 3 years, then an MBA in 18 months). I eventually realized that cutting stuff out is just fine. Did clubs, the newspaper, the radio... it just wore me down at the beginning of year 3 and I ended up doing much less. Not only did I feel better, but my grades and social life actually improved. I didn't play video games for two years, pretty much. But when I finally had a chance to play Metal Gear Solid 3 I knew it was a good decision.

And to be honest, unless you start having kids after school, you'll have PLENTY more time afterwards to do whatever the hell you want.

#15 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

@csl316: Yeah, I get you. And your experience does sound crazy. I would drop a lot of the extra stuff, but it's pretty much necessary to get into med schools at this point. American colleges look for the perfect "well-rounded" student who not only has fantastic grades but is involved in a bevy of activities and does a lot of volunteer work. I know that sounds unreasonable and inhuman, but I'm convinced the people who do get into med schools these days are inhuman...

As for the time thing... My degree will probably take me four years, med school will take another four, and residency will be another 2-3 after that. I will be thirty by the time I start working my first real full-time job. Sigh.

(This is assuming that everything goes to plan and my grades don't crash and burn and I don't dropout of college and oh God.)

#16 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Yep, I'm taking 5 classes, working 30 hours, practicing martial arts 3 nights a week, and just got a new girlfriend. Life is real fucking good right now, but I'm running on 2-4 hours of sleep daily. Not sure how long I can keep it up. But really, compared to some of you, I've got a cake-walk. Good luck.

#17 Edited by csl316 (8097 posts) -

@party: Then just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Then keep reminding yourself of where you'll be one day.

I dunno, college is tough but once you're done, no one can take that away from you. The daily grind is the daily grind, but if I was ever overly stressed about upcoming exams... well, I'd focus on where I'll be right after the exam (super relieved and feeling great). "This too shall pass" is a good motto during finals times, especially.

#18 Edited by DriveupLife (909 posts) -

@party: It's times like these where its important to remember that one day you are going to die.

#19 Edited by ch3burashka (5009 posts) -

@mb: If persona taught me anything, it's that clubs lead to girlfriends.

Stay in the clubs kid. S Link with people.

#20 Edited by Barrabas (325 posts) -

@party said:

@csl316

: Yeah, I get you. And your experience does sound crazy. I would drop a lot of the extra stuff, but it's pretty much necessary to get into med schools at this point. American colleges look for the perfect "well-rounded" student who not only has fantastic grades but is involved in a bevy of activities and does a lot of volunteer work. I know that sounds unreasonable and inhuman, but I'm convinced the people who do get into med schools these days are inhuman...

As for the time thing... My degree will probably take me four years, med school will take another four, and residency will be another 2-3 after that. I will be thirty by the time I start working my first real full-time job. Sigh.

(This is assuming that everything goes to plan and my grades don't crash and burn and I don't dropout of college and oh God.)

You've got the right idea. The idea of cutting stuff out of your schedule when you are that busy is great advice for most majors, but pre-med is a whole other ball game. Like you said, they not only want you to be the best of the best grade wise, but also have a good amount of extra curricular / volunteer / research experience. I went to a school that had particularly close ties to a nearby medical university, and knew quite a few pre-med students because of that. The ones who got into med school (any med-school not just the one with ties to our university) worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get there. Just keep your eye on the ball, and remember as long as it's something you really want to do it will be worth it in the end.

#22 Posted by OurSin_360 (832 posts) -

Networking is the most important part of college, don't miss out on it. The degree will help but at the end of the day 90% of everything can can be learned on your own time, it's just a badge. The networks you build will help you out more in the long run.

#23 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

Thanks everyone for the great advice! It's strangely reassuring to know that there are people have gone through or are in similar situations to me and still maintain their love for games. Honestly, this website is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes.

#24 Posted by LikeaSsur (1494 posts) -

If this thread is anything to go by, apparently it's time to stop doing things you like and go make "friends" with people that you can use as stepping stones to launch yourself into a job, and that's about it. nothing else matters.

#25 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

Not sure if this a sarcastic rebuttal to the constant chiding that networking is the key to success or an honest to goodness suggestion to get out there and socialize. Or both. Either way, I agree.

#26 Posted by Deathstriker (307 posts) -

As you get older you realize school was somewhat pointless. I'm 25 and have worked for two big companies since graduating and college is really just a section to put on your resume. As others have said, networking is important too, it's not mandatory, but it is very helpful. I would say learn what you need for your major/ideal career and don't have a nervous breakdown over the rest. Most jobs don't ask for GPAs, SAT scores, etc like you might think when you're younger. Of course, your career matters too; schooling is more important for a doctor than a writer or real estate agent.

#27 Edited by charlie_victor_bravo (941 posts) -

@mcghee: 2-4 hours of sleep? Getting less than 5 hours on consistent basis should be really bad for your health.

#28 Posted by Sinusoidal (1289 posts) -

I'm a pretty damned happy guy. I've got two degrees. In physics and music. I've been teaching English as a second language in Korea for 9 years now. Study what you want to. Do what you want to.

#29 Edited by subyman (589 posts) -

I finished graduate school last year and I was busy all the time. Deep into studying, teaching courses, grading, thesis, meetings, and trying to carve out a bit of time to work out. I didn't have time to think about not liking it. Now that I'm out, I kind of miss being busy. I say enjoy the time and try to get the most out of school. Fucking videogames will be there forever, but your college experience is a very limited time of your life.

Also, I got my gaming fix vicariously through the duders. I would study/grade/write/etc while watching quick looks and I always listened to the bomb cast while working out ;)

#30 Posted by Deathstriker (307 posts) -

@mcghee: 2-4 hours of sleep? Getting less than 5 hours on consistent basis should be really bad for your health.

We're supposed to get around 8 hours a night. It's been proven that way less than that on a regular basis takes years off your life. Unless some people in here are close to finding the cure to cancer, you aren't doing anything THAT important, so stop the crazy schedules.

#31 Posted by Video_Game_King (35988 posts) -

If this thread is anything to go by, apparently it's time to stop doing things you like and go make "friends" with people that you can use as stepping stones to launch yourself into a job, and that's about it. nothing else matters.

Agreed. This is a shitty message, which makes it all the more surprising how often I see it.

Online
#32 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@mcghee: 2-4 hours of sleep? Getting less than 5 hours on consistent basis should be really bad for your health.

Yeah, tell me about it.

#33 Posted by Kidavenger (3508 posts) -

@likeassur said:

If this thread is anything to go by, apparently it's time to stop doing things you like and go make "friends" with people that you can use as stepping stones to launch yourself into a job, and that's about it. nothing else matters.

Agreed. This is a shitty message, which makes it all the more surprising how often I see it.

I'm guessing you guys are talking about my post, it's not really what I was getting at, the OP made it sound like he had no social life at all, I think going through college and making no friends and just studying is a tragedy, and for most careers, it probably won't help you all that much, seeing how he's planning on going on to medical school (info that was completely absent from the op when I posted) he has a greater need to study than the average college student. I wasn't advocating making friends purely to use them, just take time to make friends and be social, there are benefits there.

#34 Posted by Party (74 posts) -

@kidavenger: I HAVE FRIENDS. They just manifest themselves as voices in my head, is all. I kid, I kid. I certainly have friends (maybe not as many as I'd like) and though my social life is certainly not ideal, it still does rear its head every once in a while. I'm not living the party-every-night-and-get-hilariously-drunk-and-oh-God-whose-pants-are-these lifestyle that some of my other friends in college do, but I think I'm doing okay for myself. Besides, with the amount of clubs and stuff that I do (and that a lot of you guys do too!) it's hard not to keep in touch with people.

@mcghee: I'm a staunch opponent of the "sacrifice sleep to get more studying done" approach. I understand if you just have work to do and you need to stay up to get that work done, but in terms of studying, I simply believe that at some point the human brain just stops processing information. At least, it does for me. I haven't pulled an all-nighter in college and I don't plan to. That being said, I have spent entire days in my room or in the library doing nothing but going through my notes and stuff so....

@subyman: That sounds awesome! I do love being kept busy but I hate the stress of finals/midterms and the possibility of not doing as well as I should. And yeah, a summer of lazing around and not doing much has made me really miss school and all its craziness as well. Though knowing I won't be playing GTA V for a while is still kind of a bummer.

#35 Posted by razzdrazz (62 posts) -

I attended a top-tier university and I always felt as though there was something 'more important' to attend to. I held a job as well as an apprenticeship and worked on crazy, intensive projects during my Senior year to achieve Honors. On top of that, I am married. So, needless to say, I had a lot going on.

However, I did manage to work in some great games during my studies. Playing through Mass Effect actually helped me write my thesis when I had trouble understanding stupidly complex philosophical ideas (Foucault references, anyone?). I used entertainment as a relaxation tool: if I got enough work done during the day I would play a game or watch a film as a reward to myself.

@subyman, That's exactly what I did. I know excessive multitasking can be bad for the brain, but I enjoyed exhausting the Giant Bomb repository of Quick Looks and Bombcasts.

Good luck to you! Don't get too overwhelmed with university that you forget about enjoying your own personal time, whether that includes games or not. That said, college is so important to your future and games will indeed always be there.