General Question

nuclear's avatar

Is there ever enough time to have fun?

Asked by nuclear (254 points ) November 20th, 2012

I am wondering if I will ever have time to truly enjoy my twenties.

Currently, I am a final year undergraduate law student. All I ever have time for are assignments and studying. It isn’t as if I particularly enjoy this life, but I do it because I know it will be worth it. I have applied for Masters programs at many of the top Universities in the world, but to make this actually happen, I have to keep achieving top grades. The past three years have just been a mad rush to be in and remain in the top 3% of my class, with summers being filled with work experience and application filling.

I feel so tired and drained 80% of the time. My friends, if you can even say I have any these days, don’t ask me to do anything with them because I am too busy to do anything. I am envious of the people posting their photos on Facebook who are always going out and having “great nights”, whereas I am usually working until midnight and only spend my free time relaxing.

It is not as though I would rather be doing work, but considering the terrible economy, I feel like it will be impossible to get anywhere in law without putting in the time and coming out on top. As soon as I graduate this year, I will be going for 3+ more years of this, which I assume will be even more difficult at a postgraduate level. By the time I am completely finished, I will be 25+ and then hopefully going to employment. This doesn’t leave much time for “living a student life, enjoying your twenties”.

How is it even possible to have a normal social life and achieve top grades, or is this the choice people end up having to make? How do you succeed and still be a normal person at the same time?

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14 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Well, you need to keep asking yourself if these trade offs are worth it to you. Your life is passing you by while you run on a wheel for some nebulous concept called success.

Why is success worth it?

I define success as being relatively happy in my daily life, with a good relationship, and doing what I like doing for a living, not having a lot of money.

It may be worth it to you, but really check in with yourself and see why you are doing it, and if it is worth it.

Mariah's avatar

I used to tell people I didn’t have time outside of school either, but when it finally got to be too much, I learned to make time for me. Turns out I was studying way more than I really needed to. I now have good grades and a social life. Try it, you may be overstudying out of anxiety about school. That’s what it was for me.

bookish1's avatar

Great question, and welcome to Fluther! I have wondered this myself since high school, haha. Worked my ass off and got a scholarship to college, worked my ass off to keep my scholarship and be well-positioned for grad school, working my ass off in grad school, watching my motivation drain away, and wondering if it’s been worth it… In college, I would stay in the library Friday night til it closed (in the days before 24 hour libraries became common!) and only then go to a party or a friend’s dorm for a couple hours, and then sleep and wake up and start working Saturday morning at 9 am. Now, I’m 24 and I will (fingers crossed) have a PhD in hand by the time I’m 26, which sounds pretty cool, but yes, it means that I will not have as much fun as people who just work basic jobs and get to hang out with their friends in their free time (instead of going to class as a job, and doing schoolwork when they’re not on the job…)

@marinelife‘s asked some good questions. Do you want to be a lawyer because you want to be “successful” and that is the path you have envisioned? Are you in it for the money? Are you doing this for yourself or to please someone else? For too long, I was really only working hard in school to please my parents, and also to become financially independent to get away from them. I’m definitely proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I had to find another motivation along the way. And that is my pleasure in teaching and my passion for what I research. Do you have a passion for law?

If you’re going to be a lawyer, you will probably not have very much free time. Will you derive most of your pleasure from your work? Some people I know would rather work stable but unfulfilling jobs to give them time and funds to pursue other interests, like art.

Coloma's avatar

I think one has to seize the moments and realize that “fun” and “happiness” are not constants but moments. I am one that has always chosen time over money, sometimes to my detriment, but, I always manage. I too, do not define “success” through status and material gain. I define it as one who has enough self knowledge and courage to march to the beat of their own drum.

I took 2 years off from life and working in 2006–7 and spent a large chunk of my savings to live while pursuing a phase of personal and spiritual growth and some travel. Some of my friends were appalled that I would do this but my feeling was ” if not NOW, WHEN?”
I was in my mid-40’s at the time and decided that I’d rather spend my money while I was still ALIVE!

Don’t be discouraged but also realize that the majority of us do not have the resources for much “fun” until we reach our middle aged years and in the meanwhile just embrace and fit in as much fun as you can manage.

Shippy's avatar

I had a friend once who was working full time (As a chemical Engineer) plus tackling two other degrees. One an MBA (Which I know is is huge volume) and another in Psychology. She also used to work late on shut downs, as she was the chemical engineer on call. Sometimes only arriving home late. After 10pm. How she did it was, set up a roster, or weekly and monthly schedule. The weekly one could be changed for obvious reasons.

In the roster, she also made times for friends, which might have included a night out. Church she attended two services on a Sunday. Plus a Home Cell group on a Wednesday. She also had strict times for studying. She would come home cook a great meal, chat with me and drink tea. Then hit the books at around 6pm. I could hear her chair scraping above me until midnight or later.

Sometimes if she was on a shutdown, she would rise earlier, say 5am and work two hours before leaving for work, then do another two or three hours when she arrived home.

But basically what I am saying is, she planned in advance.

When I studied, I found a Dictaphone faster, or voice tape recorder. I would tape a summary of what I read, and then summarize again. I would play this in the bath or when I was cooking. Your 20’s though are just a number, I am still living in my 20’s a I missed them for less important reasons than you are doing now!

Coloma's avatar

@nuclear Well..I hope your going for either family law or estate law. Jesus mercy, between my divorce 10 years ago and settling an estate, shit….we’re talking thousands upon thousands. People will always get divorced and they will always die. Go for family law and trust. lol ;-)

Coloma's avatar

@nuclear P.S. Welcome to the pod! :-)

rojo's avatar

One year in college I spent an inordinate amount of time in the library. I would go about 3x a week and stay for 4–5hrs at a time. Not because I wanted to but because my GF at the time did and I wanted to spend time with her.
She would get so irritated because she spent the entire time studying while I spent probably 80% of the time wandering in the Stacks looking books of interest to me and reading said books.
The difference was my GF wanted, and got, A’s while I was content with a B. We both got what we aimed for but I worked a lot less to get it.
One note of interest though; of the 4 years I spent in college, that one was also the year that my GPA was the greatest.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m a lazy SOB. I’ve decided that laziness is a virtue, and I seek to hire lazy people. Laziness makes you efficient, because you don’t want to work hard. You find ways of accomplishing things more quickly so you can save time to have fun.

I don’t think I worked half as hard as my college classmates. I did my studying, but not as much as other people seemed to. I still did well enough to get into a top grad school, where I also did well enough gradewise, though not necessarily financially.

But then, I ended up doing really interesting work that had to do with public policy in a wide variety of areas. I also didn’t have to work long hours, and I could take time off to see my kids do things in school, or even be home when my first child was brand new.

Before I went to grad school, I lived in the big apple. I threw parties pretty regularly. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. I didn’t make hardly any money at all, but I lived with friends and work gave me a car and I did all right. Plus I had a lot of time for fun.

Now I wouldn’t say I’m a role model. I mean, I’d like to be, but I think most people are like you, and take a very serious and moral approach to life, and so they wouldn’t find me to be a person to emulate. Not at all. But it is possible. And it’s possible to have a hell of a lot more fun, too. Not only that, but it’s possible to have a lot of fun and make money, if that’s what you need.

But you don’t have to make a lot of money in order to save for retirement. You just have to save. And keep your expenses lower.

I only took one law course in my life. I think I did well. I enjoyed it. Considered going to law school. But I’m glad I didn’t because I married a lawyer. And it seems to me that lawyers have to work too hard. It turned my wife into a miserable person. I have finally gotten her to quit, and the transformation in her personality is not to be believed! She makes jokes now! I hadn’t heard her make a joke in twenty years. She’s light and silly and she doesn’t push herself to get stuff done, and you know what? I don’t care. The kitchen can stay half painted for the rest of our lives for all I care. It sure beats what it used to look like: holes all over the ceiling!

Lawyers are often miserable. The ones that like it the best are the ones doing work they believe in, instead of corporate work. The ones who like it best love what they do, whether it’s the research and writing, or whether it’s arguing cases in court. The performers do the latter, while the introverts do the former.

You can get a law degree, but you don’t have to do law. I don’t know if you have big loans. It sounds like you are European, so perhaps you don’t. But maybe you don’t have to worry about money so much. Maybe you’ll marry a lawyer, or a doctor or a business person, and won’t have to worry about money. Or maybe you’ll do fine not making as much as you imagined you wanted to.

Of course, if you are driven by status, and it sounds like that’s important to you, then you’ll have to be a lawyer and you’ll have to do well. Nothing else will be acceptable. Maybe it’s your parents pushing you, or you push yourself due to whatever hobgoblins dwell in your head, and you really don’t have a choice.

If that’s the case, then stop questioning yourself. Stop worrying about fun. That’s not in the cards for you. You need to succeed. Give in to it. Second guessing isn’t helping you.

YARNLADY's avatar

To have fun, you need to enjoy what you are doing. My husband is currently working 14 to 16 hours a day on a special project at work, and he’s having the time of his life. They are doing a computer conversion and he loves to solve every new issue that comes up.

deni's avatar

If being successful in your chosen field is your priority, at this point you might not have time for much fun. This is exactly the reason I think it’s silly that in America (don’t know where you live) kids are encouraged to graduate high school at 18, college hopefully by 22, and maybe do more school after that, if not get a full time job. Where is the time for enjoyment? It does not exist.

IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

The advice I’m about to give you is from a freshman at Mizzou. That’s me. When I was in high school, I felt like I had to excel beyond belief in order to keep my reputation and enter a good university. When I decided on Mizzou, I thought to myself, Mizzou isn’t necessarily the top ranked school in the US, it doesn’t have very many famous names coming from it, etc. At that point, I didn’t really care where I went to school or what I did with my college career. Things are going to happen to you whether or not you continue pursing your college adventures in law. I learned that it’s better to let go, have a little fun and experience life rather than sit around and wonder what life ‘could’ be. I was the type to sit in my room on Tumblr (a blogging site) and imagine how things could be instead of experience what they are.

When I started to experience a life outside of my computer, outside my studies and outside my normal friend group, I saw how beautiful the world is. The world is truly a beautiful place with almost too much to experience for the common folk.

If you still don’t feel convinced that you need to let go and see what’s out there, I recommend you read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” or going to see the movie recently released by the author. There’s a quote that goes to the tune of “enjoy it. because it’s happening.”

Praneeta's avatar

You need to ask yourself, If you need enjoyment then go out on vactions for some days or consult your close friends may be they will help you to sort out.

have a great day a head.

Praneeta's avatar

you need to enjoyment on you collage life .

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