Sunday, 15 December 2013


BALANCE: The writer re-evaluates her academic and social lives

A TASTE of university life is like eating silky smooth chocolate for the first time. It is magical and enchanting, filled with wonder and joy. However, reality begins to sink in after a few days — that bar of chocolate contains half the recommended daily amount of calories.
Tertiary life began to reveal itself after the first week of lectures, tutorials and seminars. It dawned on me that my aim was to get that highly esteemed bachelor’s degree at the end of four years.
Yes, it was surprisingly easy to forget the sole reason why I enrolled in university in the first place. Countless activities run by the many clubs and societies at Trinity College Dublin distracted me.
There were more than 100 societies and I was spoilt for choice. The extra-curricular activities ranged from hip hop class on Mondays, singing rehearsals on Tuesdays, international students cafe meetings on Wednesdays, Christian Union groups and Korean language classes on Thursdays and ballroom dancing on Fridays.
Later I realised that I had signed up for too many and ended up with too much on my plate. In my first week of classes, I had 100 pages of reading material with minuscule font.
And despite the extensive collection of books in the libraries, there were few recommended textbooks for loan. Getting my hands on the textbooks was a competition in itself.
I began to formulate game plans to juggle my social life and studies. Both ends of the spectrum are clearly unhealthy. Too much focus on social life will result in failing examinations, while intense study will lead to a hermit lifestyle.
After listing down the pros and cons of each society, I narrowed my choices to suit my schedule and preferences better. Suddenly my Economics module became relevant. What would be my tradeoffs and opportunity costs for each selection?
I will try to strike an ideal balance between a rich academic life and an active social schedule.

The writer loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart.

Read more: LIFE OVERSEAS: Juggling act - You - New Straits Times

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