Published April 19, 2013
Exercising Independence Through Choice
Editor's Note

You can choose two; a social life, good grades, or sleep. Do you try to “work hard, play hard” by sleep deprivation? Do you subscribe to the “C’s get degrees” motto that some of my more socially inclined, sleep-conscious friends have chosen? Or do you, like me, try to do a bit of all three? For instance, I started writing this at a house party. My friend’s roommates are gone so we decided to partake in a game called “beer ball.” I, as a responsible designated driver, was playing with water.

Choosing what we spend our time on whether it is on Reddit, doing homework or otherwise will impact a college career more than the negative effects of procrastination or a late night partying. Through the actions we take, we are defining our behavior in an uncontrolled environment. If I want to stay up until 4 a.m. playing Euchre with my friends, there is no one who will wonder where I am or tell me to “drive safe” when I come home. How we were raised and taught as children has hopefully given us the tools to make informed decisions, but at this stage in life we are on our own.

In some circumstances, the freedom is refreshing. Each year, I stretch my wings a little bit farther and get a little bit more used to answering only to myself. In parallel, the safety net of parental guidance is gone. Going to a party and trying to write an editor’s note that will be seen by whoever doesn’t want to look lame eating lunch alone and more importantly my parents, doesn’t seem like a smart idea. But I’m trying it anyway. In this instance, my unusual work-place setting experiment is providing mixed results. On one hand, everyone around me thinks I’m a huge nerd for writing this at a house party. In contrast, I’m sure my parents are a bit skeptical of my work ethic.

My friend is yelling at me to join the party. “Close it, close it!” she yells, referring to my laptop. Shaking her beer bottle at me in disappointment, she gives me a friendly eye-roll and turns around, distracted by an invitation to play MarioKart. At this time, I have a few more articles to edit and am bound by an early deadline. That and the fact that I suck at MarioKart prompt me to continue my work. But, there are trade-offs for everything. I might regret passing up the opportunity to get bested in a video game or I might be glad I crossed another thing off my to-do list.

As we continue to further exercise our independence throughout our time at RIT, there are many benefits and consequences to consider. Each person must find his or her own balance between friends, academics and sleep. No matter which choice we make, it is important to remember what these decisions imply about us as individuals, solely responsible for the outcome.

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