Why Being Busy Doesn't Always Mean You're Successful

You’re taking 18 credits worth of classes, you have a job on the side, you’re involved in student government, and you also have to have time to run at least two miles a day on the treadmill at a 7 mph pace. Sound familiar? The life of a college student is intensely demanding, and that’s completely normal; however, sometimes we convince ourselves that being busy equals success – that’s not always the case.

It’s easy to get into the habit of sacrificing family time, socializing, and hobbies you truly love in order to be “successful.” We give ourselves pats on the back for spending Friday nights writing essays instead of hitting up clubs with our girlfriends. We applaud our ability to be responsible adults and make the “right” choice… but is it really the right one?

Society has instilled this perpetual goal setting and achieving mindset in us. And sure, a busy schedule is great, but everything that occupies it is – typically – only for a temporary amount of time. Sorority chapter meetings end, chemistry ends, and your position as the Debate Club President ends. You graduate with your degree, and then what? Well…onto the next round of being busy and prioritizing what makes you “successful” over what truly matters.

Don’t get me wrong, sacrifices are necessary. We can’t have a girls’ night every night, and Netflix binge-watching should be put off sometimes, but when the default response to an invitation to bond with people, or spend quality time with yourself, is to turn it down, that’s when it becomes a problem.

I began realizing this a few weeks ago myself. I opted out of going to an all-day family trip in order to study for quizzes and midterms. Was that the right choice? Probably, but I most likely would have been fine had I chosen roller coasters and family over Shakespeare. I told myself that I made the right choice, but then I stopped to think about it, and I realized I was somewhat wrong. I could have spent the day making memories that will last for the rest of my life, but I chose to be the “good student” instead, and I regretted it.

What I’m saying is a social life, family time, religion (if applicable), and hobbies should be priorities just as much as calculus or your five-page essay is. Those are what bring you actual joy in life! Friendships and memories are what you’ll share with your grandchildren, not how you aced your quiz in Business Ethics.

Even though it’s important to be disciplined and building your resume, make sure to remember that success isn’t all about landing the internship of your dreams, or boosting your GPA – it’s about trying new things, meeting new people, engaging in activities that resonate within your soul, and maintaining relationships. That’s true success.

So eat that cookie, have a Ryan Gosling movie night with your mains, go to family dinners, because one day, when everything else fades, those moments of bliss will be all you have left to hold onto. Basically, have a balance, and prioritize what’s most important.