I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase “work hard, play hard” and I would say a lot of college students live up to this motto when it comes to partying, but where do you find that balance between school and social life?

JMU is ranked #18 in Princeton’s Review 2013 Top Party Schools. Hearing from former friends that went to my high school, it didn’t surprise me that JMU was known to be a big party school. There are definitely pros and cons to this ranking. Everyone wants to get the wild and crazy college experience, but is that all college is about? College is basically the time where you decide your career and future. When you mix that with partying it could lead to a dark path. First, partying pictures can harm future job prospects. It’s not worth posting a picture holding a red solo cup when it could cost you a job. Jobs do search through your Facebook and twitter to see what kind of person you are. If all you posting are partying pictures it doesn’t portray a good image even if you are an “A” student. Second, college is known for a time to experiment. Drugs can get you in a lot of trouble, but worse it’s extremely difficult to stop which can have an impact on your school work. There is such a thing as drinking and partying too much in college. That line is drawn when it starts affecting your schoolwork. Many of you have probably heard of the infamous I’m Shmacked. Well if you haven’t, I’m Shmacked is a film crew that travels to different universities and films crazy college parties. I’m sure most of us woudn’t want our future employer to see us in one of these videos. My tip to you is to be smart when you go out. Don’t do something or post something you wouldn’t want a future job prospect to see.


Maintaining your grades is your main priority in college; social life comes second. It’s hard to find the right balance between school and social life especially as an incoming freshman since everything is new and exciting. Freshman year is detrimental to your success especially if you’re applying for a rigorous major program, grades are extremely important. I made a short list of how you can enjoy the college experience but still keep in mind the main reason you’re here.

1. Time management: This is key to success. It’s important to put your studies before anything else. Design a time frame to get your homework done to start building a routine. For me, I like getting all my homework done before dinner so I have all evening to relax. There are however those days where you’re doing homework all day and you just got to crank it out. Don’t leave assignments to the last minute. Try and at least get started on them early on so you’re not pulling an all-nighter. If you really enforce these rules you will have time to go out and have fun but if you procrastinate you may become overwhelmed with all the work you have to do and may end not completing some assignments. These assignments start adding up, so get your work done early so you can enjoy yourself later. It’s important to find a place where you study the best. I personally like working in the library because it’s quiet and I feel that’s where I get most of my work done. Whether you study best in your room, your hall’s study area or the library, it’s important to find “your place”.

2 Developing priorities: If you wait until the last minute to complete an assignment and then suddenly your friend invites you to a party, you will most likely blow off your homework. I am guilty of doing this once or twice, or maybe a little more. This is why it’s important to develop priorities and taking on responsibilities. It’s time to act like an adult and make sure you’re doing your job at college, which is being a student. Don’t skip class just because you feel like it. A professor once told me that every time you skip a class you’re just blowing money out the window. School is expensive; make the cost worth something. It took me some time to focus and get in the habit of college life. My first month of college was centered around friends and social life. I made school my second priority and I found myself trying to catch up with homework and raise my grades at the end of semester, which is something you don’t want to do. It’s better to start college off on a strong note than trying to play “catch up” the end of the semester.

3. Staying Healthy: Coming to a school like JMU can be overwhelming for the first time. It’s a big campus and there’s a lot going on, especially dining options. We have bagels, subs, pizza, sushi, and so much more. With so many dining options it’s important to eat healthy and exercise. Beware of the freshman 15! Take advantage of all of JMU’s exercise opportunities. UREC is the main gym with so much to do the possibilities are endless. You can sign up for classes if you’re into the typical treadmill routine. UREC offers yoga, boxing, and cycling and a lot more fun classes. I didn’t take any of these classes until the end of the semester and I found out how much I missing out. My favorite UREC class is boxing and I try and go to a class at least once a week. It’s really fun and will leave you sore for a week! Not kidding. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and try new activities; that’s what college is all about.

College is a stressful time because you have to balance school, social life, and maybe a job. Don’t get caught up in your social life because college is the stepping-stone to your future career. Would I suggest living up to the motto “work hard, party hard”? Not necessarily, I would suggest you lean more towards work hard, party smart. Ultimately, it’s your college experience and you can choose to live it anyway that works best for you but don’t forget the big picture. College is your future; don’t start off on a bad foot.




“Top Party Schools in the US for 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.” Top Party Schools in the US 2014. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.collegeatlas.org/top-party-schools.html>

“The Student Perspective On College Drinking.” The Student Perspective On College Drinking. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/supportingresearch/student1.aspx>

“Balancing My Social Life” Act: Student Readiness Inventory. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://www.act.org/engage/studentguide/pdf/BalancingSocialLife.pdf>

“College-life-27.” TheBERRY RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

“I’M SHMACKED X UNSEEN FOOTAGE X JMU.” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.