Being busy is commonplace among the students at Case Western Reserve University. Relaxing and not taking on too much while being a student is something that is important and acknowledged by many of the writers here in the opinion section. Being busy is not only costly to your own mental health, but also to your social circles and friends.
Belonging to various organizations and groups might seem like the best way to socialize, and it can be great a way to meet new people. However, busyness is not something to be glorified because it interferes with your relationships with previous friends. Getting too involved can lead to having a higher quantity of friends, but the quality might not always be there. Too many times I have asked to simply get dinner with a friend or for them to come over to my place just for a little after class, but they are so busy with what seems like a thousand obligations and school work that they do not have the time or energy to come over.
I am not sure if that means that I do not have the best of quality of friends, or if I am expecting too much of them throughout the semester. But I often feel lonely and annoyed that everyone is always busy when I always try to take the time out of my schedule to see them. Many people seem to find it difficult to balance focusing on school and working on their relationships.
It is not easy to put aside obligations or school work when you are as motivated as most CWRU students are to do well in classes. But it can be more valuable and important to focus on your relationships with others than be completely consumed with school work and professional obligations. At the end of the day, if you do not have positive relationships with others, then who is there to support you?
Of course there will be busy times of the semester where this might not be feasible. Such is the case during midterms or finals. But throughout the rest of the semester, maybe it is more important to try to catch up with your friend from last year. Or maybe you can take a trip home to see your family, especially if they live close by. With today’s technology, it is even possible to make video calls.
School and education are important parts of life, especially when working towards the end goal of a career in undergraduate or graduate school. I have never been a person who has seen this as the only goal of my life. I believe that there are other important things in life that I need to also focus on. This is why I neither go to the library on a Saturday nor stay up late to do work. I would rather get dinner with a friend to catch up than work on a paper during dinner time by myself. If more people felt that their relationships were just as important as their school work and their education, perhaps more people would feel less stressed and more supported by others in their lives.
Abby Assmus is a graduate bioethics and social work student.