There is a dilemma that all college students face: perfecting the delicate balance between studying, extra curricular activities, friends and sleep.

You may be thinking, "Do Yeon, this dilemma is not exclusive to college students… It applies to all students, and even all people, with a simple modification or two."

Yes, but there is one factor that absolutely amplifies the dilemma for the majority of college freshmen: it is the first time we are truly on our own. There are no parents around anymore to remind us to sleep, no teachers asking us to finish our homework, and lots and lots of friends who always want to hang out; there is never a shortage of things to do.

As an official college first-year, I can attest to the fact that this is a very real dilemma, and it's one that I face on a regular basis. It has barely been a month since school has officially been in session, so I am probably not the most qualified person to offer advice on this matter. But I will still attempt to.

Let me preface this by saying that “Do Yeon, you are in college. Come on, just live a little!” is neither a valid excuse nor a proper justification to everything; it is definitely a potentially unwise way of thinking. Just consider the possibilities: Who cares if you have a paper and 200 pages of reading due tomorrow? Let’s go get Jefe’s! Who cares if every upperclassman explicitly told you not to over-commit to activities? There are seven organizations you are interested in! Who cares if you have a 9 a.m. class tomorrow? Stay up until 4 a.m. watching "Good Will Hunting" (which I highly recommend, by the way) with your friends.

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All of these examples are based on true stories, and I just want to say, each of them was absolutely worth it… or so I tell myself, anyway. That being said, as a direct result of those choices, I am currently sitting in the library at 4:12 p.m., noise-cancelling headphones on, ardently hoping I will get my seminar paper completed and submitted by 5 p.m.

So, when it comes to that delicate balance I mentioned between studying, extra curricular activities, friends and sleep, my scales are, at times, a little tippy.

There have been moments during my time here when I have managed to find and maintain a nearly perfect balance. That is what I have always done. I have always known exactly what I needed to do and exactly when I would do it. However, I have learned that, although the academics, lectures and seminars are phenomenal, there is so much to learn outside of the classroom, too.

Occasionally tipping the scales, to my surprise, did not cause my world to implode. The readings were still exactly where I had left them, and I even got that essay submitted with 14 minutes to spare.

Do Yeon Kim is a Detroit Lakes High School graduate and current student at Harvard University. This column is regularly written for the Tribune's monthly education page, WAVE.