Queen's University — Since 1873
1st November 2011

Change the subject

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Students love to commiserate with each other. During midterm season, bumping into a friend automatically means listening to a list of assignments, tests, presentations and commitments. It’s true; it’s a crazy time of year. But don’t assume you’re the only student on campus with a crazy schedule. The truth is we all have work to do.

We’re at an institution with over 23,000 students who are all attempting to balance demanding schedules. This is the reality of post-secondary education and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Though I’m always happy to lend an ear when my friends are in stressful or difficult situations, I can’t help but get annoyed when our conversations revolve around busy schedules and course loads.

We all have that friend that who says “Woe is me. I have two midterms and a presentation on Wednesday, how unfair.” That feeling isn’t unique among the student body.

Field of study seems to play a factor in how much sympathy students expect to elicit. True, class time differs between faculties, but it’s wrong to assume that one program requires more work than another. No one should dismiss the difficulty of another student’s degree.

If all you have to talk about is your homework, then this points to a bigger problem. Some students forget that school isn’t everything. We’re here for classes, but we have to understand that the world doesn’t stop because of an important midterm. We should also be aware that people often don’t like to hear about things that don’t pertain to them at all.

It’s understandable that we become frenzied over our schoolwork, but too often we let it get in the way of our relationships, health and happiness.

Though this is a unique time in life to focus on ourselves and our own education, it’s also a time to learn about time management, social skills and how to balance it all. We’ll miss these opportunities if our focus is too narrow. Academics are an important part of life but not the only part. Understanding this will make the burden and responsibility of university little lighter.

The rare times we can shoot the breeze with our friends should be a welcome diversion from the stresses of our school work. So please, next time I bump into you, let’s assume we’re both really busy and then find something else to talk about.

I could use the distraction from my busy schedule.

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