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Comment Editor's Opinion: Work hard, play hard

Molli Tyldesley on the importance of striking a balance while at university

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Image Credit: Molli Tyldesley

It's spring term at university, which means things are getting serious. With summative essays and dissertation deadlines looming, it can feel like we need to spend every waking hour working on our degrees.

But at times, I’m inclined to agree with Jeremy from Peep Show when he proclaims “I didn’t go to university to get a degree”. As a third year, it’s hard to face the reality that my final weeks at university will be spent in the library writing essays, as much as I do enjoy the subject I study. A big part of me simply wants to spend my final weeks socialising as much as possible before everyone moves around the country.

I do think it is possible, however, to find the balance between working hard, and playing hard. There are so many bars and restaurants around York I am yet to try. There are so many friends I have made over the past three years that I want to catch up with. And of course, there are a whole host of 21sts to attend (who decided to put the biggest birthday in the most important academic year?) And who says these things aren’t important?

My housemates and I recently decided that life is about finding this balance. We may use it to excuse things like getting drunk and sleeping through seminars, but I do think it’s a pretty good philosophy to have. Realistically, as much as we say to ourselves “yes, next week I’ll eat fruit and vegetables, get eight hours of sleep per night and do all my uni work well before the deadline” most of the time, it just isn’t going to happen.

Okay, I admit that taking advice off Jez from Peep Show is probably not the best idea. We did come to university to get a degree, obviously, and I think working hard for that degree is a worthwhile endeavour. But I do think Jez has a point: in my view, there is much more to be gained from living away from home, with friends, in a city as beautiful as York, than just a degree. If having time away from studying means making the most of it, then I think we should embrace that!

And, as Molly’s article on Dry January points out, despite the drinking culture at university, this does not just have to be about going out drinking. Many of my favourite times at university have been spent running with friends or trying out new coffee shops.

This print edition’s Comment section has definitely adhered to my philosophy on balance. We have addressed some very serious issues, such as the pressing concern of women’s safety in the UK and beyond, but we’ve also included some more lighthearted debates. This includes Abi and Ally’s article on Valentine’s Day, which has become one of my favourite Clash of Comments to date.

Furthermore, we’ve had some experienced and regular writers – like our very own editor Ed, with his article on Michael Gove – and some brand new writers like Lizzie, who has built upon her own personal experience as a disabled student at York to draw attention to ableism, the often forgotten form of discrimination.

What I love about Comment is that although we often tackle some very serious and upsetting issues, and are often criticising government or university policy, I think the articles in this section always offer hope. They point to a better way of doing things. In this sense, the whole section is committed to finding the balance between condemning the status quo and offering solutions to create an improved future.

I’d like to give thanks to everyone who wrote for this edition. All of the pieces were excellent, making our job as editors much easier (and more enjoyable). Finally, I’d like to thank Michael, Ben and Sonny for their hard work – the Comment section wouldn’t be the same without them!

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