I Don’t Know Another Science Student Less Stressed Than Me: A Case for SimplicityJuly 25th, 2011 · 33 comments
Longtime readers of Study Hacks know I have a simple philosophy for students: do less, but do what you do really well. This pattern of success is astoundingly effective. It produces superstars — the type who have their pick of post-graduation employment. It also produces a low-stress and meaningful student life.
Every once and a while I like to share examples of this Zen Valedictorian strategy in action, just to remind my student readers what school could be like.
A nice case study arrived in my inbox this morning from a University of California student. His message was titled: “The Benefits of Being a Newportian.”
“I major in Earth Systems Science,” he told me, “and I implemented my interpretation of your Zen philosophy: extreme underscheduling of classes (a conservative 12-15 units per semester) and focusing on becoming really, really good at one thing — marine science.”
“This last semester I was in lab 25-30 hours a week, voraciously reading papers related to my field, and discussing them with my advisor. This lead to a fellowship which resulted in a publication of which I am co-first author.”
“Your philosophies allowed me to publish this paper, get a 3.8 GPA, spend almost every night with my kick-ass girlfriend, and sleep plenty. I don’t know another science student less stressed than me.”
As you contemplate your double major and overloaded course schedule and nineteen extracurricular activities, remember this example. The most exceptional students are not the most busy; they’re the most focused.
They’re also the students heading over to see their girlfriend while you settle into the library for yet another all-nighter.
Posts on my Zen Philosophy in College:
- My Romantic Scholar Series
- How to Become a Zen Valedictorian
- Zen Valedictorian Case Studies
- The Study Hacks Philosophy of College
Posts on my Zen Philosophy in High School:
- Want to Get into Harvard? Spend More Time Staring at the Clouds
- How Could we Save this Ridiculously Overscheduled Grind?
- How to Be a High School Superstar (my popular book about students who get into good colleges while avoiding high school stress)