College is busy. But news flash—you knew that coming in.

Over the last 3 years I have made it my goal to be as involved and “busy” as possible—while of course still keeping up with my classes and grades. My friends look at it as a death sentence. They can’t figure out why I want to always be running around, shouldn’t I be studying?  But all arguments aside, I always came to the conclusion that the alternative was worse: Spending 4 years trapped, alone, in my dorm room.

Let’s play a game. Would you Rather?

Would you rather be busy, or be bored to tears?

Would you rather have a jam-packed schedule, or not enough to do?

And last one…

Would you rather have stories to tell (stressed ones, funny ones, crazy ones) or think back on your time and not remember anything but books?

Okay so these are extreme, but you get the point.

I go to a relatively small school, so it’s easier to get involved—maybe even more encouraged. However, I took them up on it and haven’t regretted it since. Sure some days are too busy and I can’t wait to drop everything and take a nap, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Everyone tells me they are “too busy”. I want to reply, “good! You should be!”, but always think twice. You should be busy in college, it comes with the territory, or at least it should.

In fact, I’ve watched my friends over the last 3 years do the exact opposite of me—try to stay uninvolved. I love them to death, but I think I made the winning choice. There are days when I don’t see them leave their rooms, or do more than just watch a new episode of the “must-see” TV show. While I agree that they have chosen the less stress-filled path, I think that when we graduate in May, they might be slightly disappointed at what they missed out on.

We all make choices in college, many of which shape who we are. It’s not mandatory to get involved; maybe studying really does take that long. But the way I see it is we have 4 years in college. Classes are most important and studying goes along with that, but what about the rest of the time? Once you graduate the tickets aren’t as cheap, the activities aren’t as readily available. The programs, movies, parties, and friend groups aren’t as easy to find.

Yes college is about the books, but it’s also about growing up and gaining experience—social experience as well as life experience, and a big part of that is learning to balance. College should be a balance of work and fun, books and friends, movies and food. It’s the whole package! Your classes may be the meat and bones of the experience—the thick of it, but the cherry on top of your 4 years is the friends, memories and stories you’ll be able to tell about the other stuff you did. Ramen in your dorm room can’t go in your scrapbook. Trust me.