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6 Ways to Balance Social Life and School in Big Cities

Stress, depression, FOMO, anxiety, and, of course, hangovers are some of the many things you face while studying in a metropolis. But that’s why I am writing this article, to give you my tips on thriving in big cities. Chasing your dreams can be one of the most fearful and exciting trips ever. Imagine doing this in a place where time doesn’t wait for you–  rather, it passes you by.

Fifty university students were polled about what impacts their lives in New York City most. Forty percent reported anxiety on a regular basis. That’s why I’ve provided six ways to balance social life and school in big cities.


Live your Best Life

Often, students believe that because they are in school, they can’t live their best lives. To this I say, always remember that YOU come first! I, a student, am living my best life and there’s no reason you can’t, too. Here are some ways to help:

  • Eat healthy, but throw in a few chicken tenders here and there!
  • Run at least 20 minutes per week (walking is not enough).
  • Be social! Skate. Watch movies. Go to clubs. Kick it with your friends. Spend at least fifteen hours a week being social. It helps to get your mind off of school and releases stress.
  • Find a boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/companion; you’re living in a big city, you need someone to spend time with.


School Comes Second?

After yourself, that is.

After taking care of yourself mentally and physically, always remember that it is extremely important that you get your education. I am not going to be one of those people who say “education comes first.” What about you, your wellbeing, and mental health? Always remember to live like Elle Woods after Warner told her she couldn’t get into Harvard. But on a serious note, study like never before. I can imagine my grandmother’s deep patios (Jamaican) tone saying, “Take your book/education seriously,” literally all the time. So trust me, I can relate, and these words have carried me a long way.  

There is nothing I love to see more than an A+ on my paper with a gold star. You must prioritize! I cannot stress this more. I know about the whole over-exuberance of youth and all of that, but you must get As.

 Dance to your Own Drum

Always listen to your gut feelings. If your gut is telling you the sky is blue, then the sky is blue! You must value what you think and let it be your path. Most big cities are pretty fast and can consume you, but you have to be faster. There are 10 million things to do in big cities, but 9 million of those are risky. So be picky about where you go and what you do! Not everyone who is cute and looks friendly is actually friendly! You have to be extra careful.

Grow Thick Skin

This is no longer Wonderland. It is time to face the real world. There will be many bumps and hurdles to crumble over. You know exactly what you signed up for—the fast life of course! You will definitely feel like you are not working hard enough, because everyone is working so fast, trying to get ahead. You will see many crazy things happening in big cities, so be prepared for a bumpy, fun-filled ride.

I once saw a guy on a train with a coffee cup that was spilling. When I told him about it, he cursed at me for helping him. It’s situations like this that you might run into. Anxiety will become you if you let it. You must breathe and meditate, remember that your health comes first. 

Be Authentic

This tip is dear to my heart, so I hope you value it. Just because plaid sweaters are in style, doesn’t mean you should buy ten of them. How about buying a sweater that makes you glow when you walk in the sun? Yes, I said glow. There are seven billion people in this world, a fraction may be identical twins, but otherwise, nobody shares every single characteristic as another person, not even twins! So be yourself. I know you’re probably thinking, “how can I be myself in a world that wants to make me like everyone else?” That’s the exact reason why you should be yourself. DO NOT try to conform to stereotypical societal norms. They do nothing but break you! 

Accomplish your Goals

Whether you went to the big city to chase a modeling career, fashion design career, or whatever future you want to pursue, never lose focus. Go and get it! Never tell yourself that you can’t do something, because you can. Take it from me. I remember moving to New York leaving my family that I love so dearly in Florida, and it broke my heart. But my lesson is that you must take risks in life. You will find that one million other people are going for the same goals and dreams that you are going for, but you must stand out and think winning thoughts. If you go for an audition, don’t look at someone else’s outfit and say, “I should have worn fur because they look good in fur.” Instead, own what you have on and make it look good. After all, nothing looks better than confidence. And always think positive thoughts! If you are at an interview, do not think about the negatives! Do not go in the interview with thoughts like “I wonder if the interviewer will like my hair? Is my dress too bright? Are my teeth white enough?” When you are put on the spot, BE YOURSELF. Always remember that the race is not for the swift nor the strong, it’s for those who can endure to the end!  

This is what I think whether I am going to an audition or an interview, and it’s what you should be thinking, too! It’s not that you are thinking that you are better than anyone, it is just the right motivation to get you going. 

Kedoo Lightbody

New School '19

Kédoo Lightbody is a Junior at The New School who studies Journalism and Fashion. He also works as a model and a writer. Growing up in the Caribbean Kédoo always had a passion for writing and the arts. When it comes to giving back, he is all about volunteering. He volunteers at Chairty Water and March of dimes every year, and donates supplies to goodwill and salvation army with his family. 
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