All through high school, I had As and a few Bs here and there.

Coming into college, I naively thought the same thing. I assumed I would go into class, do my work, go home and repeat the process the next day. To be truthful, I had a rude wake-up call right off the bat. I didn’t realize the struggle I would have in balancing both work and school and thought it would be a breeze.

I knew because of my school schedule, I would need Wednesdays off, and I took 8 a.m. classes to make sure that I would have enough time for work after. In the first week, I realized a few things. One, there would be homework or just catch up for every class every night. Two, I would have to dedicate quite a few hours to just sitting down and working on school. And three, I was going to need more days off if I didn’t want to be up until 4 a.m. every night.

I sincerely don’t regret taking 8 a.m. classes. I love them. I get up earlier and in turn, can end my work day at around 5 or 6 p.m. most days.

The issue was balancing. By the second week of school, I had to have at least two days off and usually was scrambling to ask if I could have another or call in. Luckily for me, I work for my family, which puts me at a huge advantage over most students and I’m very grateful for that. My family was understanding and a great support group for me.

Another big thing I realized was having a social life was going to be difficult. I love hanging out with my friends whether it’s just going for a drive, going out for dinner, or just hanging out at the house. For the first two weeks of school, I had a hard time stepping away from my social life and getting my work done. I spent a lot of time hanging out rather than doing work that was due the next day, which had me up till 2 a.m. most nights. I now know that I don’t have to put my social life on hold but I do need to understand when I have homework that needs to be done, and I can’t just go out. I underestimated the amount of homework and work we just had to figure out on our own, and I think that was my biggest problem/mistake.

College is a lot different than high school, and I was naive to think it would be the same. I’m working now on trying my best and not loading myself with things I can’t take, and am very appreciative of my family and friends for the help.

Mariah McGarraugh is a Hutchinson freshman studying business.

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