April 26, 2013 - submitted by Mini, Belgium

I'm a bit confused right now. I'm 18 years old and studying at university which means I've got to learn and work a lot. Sometimes too much. Sometimes I'm so so so fed up with it and then I start thinking... It feels a bit like I'm spoiling my youth. I'm young and free right now, but I don't have the time to enjoy it. I always got to sit on a chair and learn and learn even more. Then I think, maybe I should just stop with it or study something easier. But then it would feel like I'm destroying my future, and one day - when I will be too old for uni - I'll regret for being too lazy.
At the same time I'm having another dilemma. Studying hard now makes the chance that I won't have exams in the summer bigger, but this means little free time now (while I should be enjoying my "student-time") and (hopefully) three months vacation in the summer. Having fun now with the risk of having exams in the summer. I have no clue what to do!
Oh, I don't even know if I'm making any sense at all, but it would be nice if you - wise Oracle - could help me out of this.

The Oracle replies:

The way I see it Mini is you’ve (hopefully) got a very long life ahead of you to enjoy.
If you’re struggling with all the work, I feel it would suit you better to slow down and ease off a little. I don’t see why you need 3 months vacation. Have some time now and some time in the Summer – you can have both.
Yes you’re young but traditionally this is study time so you’re not the only person facing this problem. Maybe speak with a friend or someone in your class about how they are coping with the workload and finding a study/free time balance. You could also speak with a tutor and explain how you're feeling - they may be able to help.
I don’t think changing what you study is necessarily the right move, unless you detest the subject(s) and haven’t got a career path in mind. Your future is important. For the sake of a few years, when your hard work pays off it will be worth it.
Another option is to reward yourself. Whenever you complete an assignment or whatever, afford yourself a treat – whether a night out with friends, a takeaway, some music, cinema…
I’m not personally a huge fan of my next suggestion but it may be a really positive driving force for you. After Uni, many people take a gap year and go travelling. That may be something of interest to you and something you can plan and look forward to when the work is over. Don’t forget though, once you get a job you may still have similar problems. What you need to do is manage your time.
Just because you’ll be working doesn’t mean life can’t be fun – even if it’s hard too.
There is a saying that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – interests outside of studying are just as important.
Try not to stress about it and keep a study schedule so you can plan allotted time. Hope that helps you but try and stick with it.
Over to you.

I know how you feel, since I'm going through a similar situation. First, really ask yourself if what you're studying is what your heart wants, only you can discover this. Meditation helps you reconnect with your inner self, you don't need any special training, just start by sitting (or laying down) in a place where you will not be disturbed, maybe play some meditation music (something very calm), close your eyes and concentrate on your heart beats until you feel at peace. It's normal to have several thoughts get in the way, but the trick is to let them "pass", don't hang on to them, remember the heart beats. It takes practice, but if you're consistent and if you're gentle on yourself you will find great results. The second thing I recommend is setting aside 1 hour a day to do what you love the most (could be music, painting, a sport or just talking to a friend, etc), respect this time and make it a commitment to allow yourself to let go and have fun. And last but not least, spend more time around nature, sit under a tree, walk barefoot on the grass, hear the birds, etc). Nature reminds us that "we live in a beautiful world, yes we do, we do". Good luck! Adelina.

I don't really think college is for everyone, but I would encourage you to have a plan/ goal for the future. If you have one and you're feeling discouraged because it's hard work, I think you should just keep pushing forward. Sometimes we give up on what we really want because it's difficult, then usually end up regretting it. We feel accomplished after completing something that we had to put a lot of effort in, not something easy. Organizing your day would help with time management. I know that when I start to slack off and put off doing work, I panic and it all feels chaotic because I have no time. As for the exams, it all depends on your summer plans. I would probably just want to work hard now and have free time later, though. Hope this helps. Love, Darem.

I think you have answered yourself already, if you behave too lazy right now you will surely blow up your future. I've seen that in many of my former High School classmates; they thought life was easy and that having fun mostly all the time would not ruin their future... They didn't get any scholarships and have failed university, they're stuck in square one.
My advice to you is to enjoy your youth, manage your time wisely and know your priorities, fun and (if you wanna call them) sacrifices CAN co-exist together.
Greetings, Lalo.

I think I understand what you are going through, I think pretty much everyone can find themselves identified in some ways with your dilemma of not knowing what we want in life or just not even knowing what is it that we are questioning to ourselves. But what I do know is that if you want to be somebody, if you want to get somewhere you need to wake up and work for it, no mattering what your goal is. I’m not saying it will be easy but the fact that you are gonna have to work hard for it makes it ten times rewarding at the end, trust me.. so find the balance and hang in there! Cami.

I wish I had thought about this at your age, like you do. I'll be done studying in a month, I have spent 5 years at the university, been working hard and it paid - everything went well, I even already have a job waiting for me, I'm so thankful for that. But on the other hand, I felt completely alone the whole weekend, and I wish I hadn't 'forgotten' about how keeping good friends can be important. You can't study 100% of the time, and even if you tried to, you would be so tired that it would very soon be counterproductive - so allow yourself some time to have fun and enjoy your youth. We all need that. It's all about finding a good balance, I think, without forgetting about long term plans. Now about your exams, honestly, if you can work now to have a long vacation, I'd definitely go for it - you'll have 3 wonderful months to have fun without regrets, knowing you did what you had to do. Good luck! Lucas, France.

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