Disclaimer: This is rehashed from an article I wrote in May 2016 for GineersNow. Some parts are added or edited for clarity.
Every engineering student knows what it is like to balance responsibilities while still being human: from passing the exams and submitting requirements, getting enough sleep, to keeping up with peers and family. With so much commitment required from the course, it takes a lot of compromise to juggle all the necessary components of life.
As they say, you can’t have it all. Among sleep, good grades, and social life, the most you can get is two among the three; if you can do three, you are most likely to be inefficient in all of them.
But where there is a possible combination in the three, which is a choice of three ways, here are the possible equations an engineering student can live with:
Sleep + Studies = No Social Life
This is the most effective equation for introverts (or nerds) as they find no use for a social life. When one is dedicated with studying while still getting enough sleep, the odds are going out and having fun with peers is just part of a dream– which can also be detrimental in the long run. Sure, to get the best grades you can have will have to sacrifice your social life and be proud of it; but once you are in the field, you will need the social skills to interact with people. Engineering is interdisciplinary and you can’t do the work all on your own. One also needs to hang out once in a while, but time for sleep and study sure will be affected.
Sleep + Social Life = Bad Grades
For the lazy ones who just try to pass every engineering subject there is, settling for the passing mark or cheating their way through engineering school, this is the best equation to live with. This is the most dangerous though, because once you miss important principles an engineer is required to learn in his or her field, you are potentially putting people’s lives at risk.
Studies + Social Life = Restless
Good news about this equation is that you get the best of both worlds with good grades and social life. This is the equation paired with a life quote, “study hard, party harder.” Bad news, though, is that you are already a zombie. When you don’t get enough sleep due to studying in the morning and partying at night, your judgment in about anything is most likely clouded. One cannot simply function in a day without having the right amount of sleep. You may survive some days, but when engineering students deprive themselves of sleep regularly, you may get issues with your health that will affect your life forever.
Some would argue that it is possible to juggle these three, but my take is that there will always be a trade off: you are still most likely to get insufficient amount of sleep, fail some exams, and miss important social gatherings. Even 100 divided by 3 leaves us with 33.33, but when you do it backwards that gives us 99.99 with the 0.01 still have to be split. You will have to prioritize two.
But if you insist that you can balance the three, well, you are a liar.