How to Stay Sane at CWRU

Case Western Reserve University is not like a lot of other colleges (Exhibigt A: our name). We are highly ranked for a reason; we're brilliant innovators and sometimes just downright nerds. But, with all of the academic advantages, we as students of CWRU have some serious academic pressures and responsibilities. Here at CWRU, it is important to excel in all areas of your life. However, often that's much easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you cope with stress, stay sane, and have the best time of your life during your college years.

 

1. Make reasonable goals.

You don’t need a 4.0 and pages of awards to be successful in life.  It’s wonderful if you have these things, but your future isn’t dependent on test scores and your GPA.  Remember that you’re not only working towards your career in college, but also your future as a whole.  That means building friendships and learning life lessons are equally as important as learning all the material you cover in your classes.  It’s okay to struggle, and it’s perfectly fine to be better at some things than others.  You don’t have to master everything you try.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.

2. Volunteer.

Whether you realize it or not, college changes you as a person.  When you’re in an environment where you’re supposed to care about your academics and resume pretty much more than anything else, it’s easy to get caught up in all of it and become a little self-centered.  Volunteering is probably the best way to combat this.  Not only does it allow you to give back to your community, but it takes your mind off of the petty things happening in yourself and gives you an opportunity to channel your energy into something useful and productive.  Seeing how other people live and being able to help out in some way keeps your grounded and down to earth.

 

3. Maintain relationships outside of the campus community.

It’s great to make lots of friends during your college years, but it’s also important to remember that you’re not going to live within walking distance of these people forever.  Not all of your college experiences will be universal, especially if you move out of Cleveland after you graduate.  Keeping a few good friends from high school and staying close with family you don’t see often gives you an opportunity to bond with people outside of the CWRU bubble, and gives you insight as to how other people in different environments are doing.

4. Have a work/life balance.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes it’s actually impossible to get every single thing that’s assigned to you done.  Try as hard as you want, but it’s just not physically possible sometimes.  It’s extremely important to remember, especially at a school like CWRU, that work--whether it's schoolwork, an actual job, or extracurricular activities--are not what should consume all of your time and energy.  Have fun, be social, and give yourself a chance to think about things other than tests, papers, and career goals.

 

5. Think about the future.

This doesn’t mean that you need to know exactly what you’re going to do when you graduate.  It means that you need to remember that you won't be in college forever.  Appreciate your time there.  Remember that not everyone has the same opportunities as you, and learn to make the most out of everything.  Take classes that really teach you things, talk to people you usually wouldn’t get to meet, and spend time doing what makes you happy.  You’ll thank yourself in the long run.