When to Sacrifice Your Social Life for School and When Not To

While I wish I could answer the question “when to sacrifice your social life with school?” with a strongly delivered, “Never!” that is most certainly bad advice. Sometimes, giving up on your weekend plans is necessary. There is a constant battle between “do it now, or do it never” and “school is the number one priority.” How do you create a balance between the two? 

When you SHOULD sacrifice your social plans

Finals Week- duh. This is self-explanatory. Finals week is not the week to book social events. It only comes once a semester; it’s a time for focus and motivation, not fun and games. That isn’t to say taking a break from studying isn’t a good idea. Take a break, but don’t spend the next five hours at the mall or procrastinating with friends. During a finals break, exercise. It will increase brain activity and function, allowing you to study better. 

When you have more than two papers due within the following three days, do not go out to a social event. Procrastination in the form of social outings is the worst of its kind since you feel as if you are accomplishing something when in actuality, you are wasting time. Creating a 2 x 3 day rule based on your own academic capabilities will be ideal in deciding to go out or stay in and work. If there is a lab due that you know averages around 2-3 hours of work, stay in. Total your assignments, assess your own capabilities and add an extra day on top of however long you believe you need to finish the assignments. 

When you are tired, know you do not have to go out. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real issue, especially in college. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, and if you sleep instead of going to that club or that party, you are wasting it. This is false. You know your own body and its needs. Sleep is one of them. Odds are, if you are tired, then whatever event you may be attending will not be as fun as first believed. Being tired and hungry leads to cranky people, a bum night, and an even worse morning. Don’t be afraid to go to bed instead. 

When you have no money, do not go out. This seems redundant, as how can you go out if you have no money? This is when many people start mooching off their friends, and before you know it, you are indebted to your friends and now have even more money issues. If you cannot afford to attend an event or buy tickets, drinks, etc., do not go out. It’s both poor money management, and more often than not will result in strained friendships. 

When your friends are pressuring you, it is probably a smart idea to stay in. Giving in to peer pressure more oftentimes results in consequences than fun-filled times. Also, the entire notion of peer pressure revolves around the hesitancy of yourself. The fact that your friends are pressuring you in the first place proves you do not want to go out. Do what you want to do. Sometimes staying in and watching a movie is more relaxing than dragging yourself around town to social events. 

When you are in a bad mood, do not go out. This may be surprising, as going out seems like a solution to a bad mood. However, there is a likelihood you’re only going to bring the rest of the group down. Going out will not fix a bad mood - if anything, it tends to make things worse. Here, it is important to note that a bad mood is completely different than a sad mood. Being sad can be cured with a long car ride, dancing through the night, or picking up a jumbo slice with friends. A bad mood is best remedied by sleep. 


When you should NOT sacrifice your social life 

A simple quiz the next day will not determine the rest of your life. Here, there is an emphasis on simple, meaning this is not a quiz worth 25% of your grade. It is in these instances that attending a social event, staying up late, or getting off campus is acceptable because the benefits far outweigh the consequences. Zoom out on your life. Will you remember that one history quiz on a random Thursday? Or a baseball game with friends, a wild party, or a nice dinner with your family?

If it is your friend’s birthday, don’t ditch on her/him. Suck it up and make the sacrifice on behalf of your friend. Birthdays are important days for every person, and everyone should feel valued, wanted, and celebrated. Most likely, this friend would do the same for you. For someone you care about, school is worth sacrificing.  

If the event has been planned for months, then your attendance is necessary. No one likes a last-minute flake, especially when it comes to events where time management and proper planning could have been utilized to prevent conflict. In this instance, there is very little excuse to ditch on an event planned over two months out, whether it be a birthday dinner, concert, or social outing. School can wait. 

However, there is a caveat to planned events that comes in the “last-minute Lucy.” If a wild and exciting event pops up at the last minute, forget school and go! This does not count for trips to the grocery store with friends, late-night pizza runs, or hanging out at a new person’s apartment. Free tickets to a concert, a celebrity outing, or once-in-a-lifetime chances that have little likelihood of occurring again should be taken with as much enthusiasm and gratitude as possible. Life is short, live it to the fullest (on most occasions). This last-minute caveat must be saved for once in a while, NOT an every weekend excuse.  

If it’s been ages since you last did anything fun, then it is time to put the homework and studying aside and let loose for a while. Everyone needs to relax and have fun; studying all the time makes for a very boring life. Go dancing, roller skating, museum touring, hiking, etc. Do something to remind you of the joys and beauty of life and to break up the monotonous stream of paperwork. 

When it’s been a good day, forget school for a minute and continue your good mood into the night. Learn to reward yourself! Having a good day is a reward in itself, but continue the good vibes by making it a great day. Go get your favorite ice cream, play your favorite song on maximum volume, watch a movie you haven’t seen in a while. Take time for yourself, and let the day end on a high note so when the bad days roll in, you can look back on the good days of yesterday. 

You haven’t seen your friends recently, a social outing is necessary. Even if it entails watching a movie on the couch, having chill friend time is necessary for your mental and physical health. Everyone is busy, but making time for those that matter is crucial in maintaining healthy, productive relationships. The same can be said for family members. Sometimes, hanging out with your family instead of checking things off your planning list can be therapeutic and necessary; it is never wasted time when you are with people who love you.