Challenge yourself sanely

When you're picking your classes, here's something we tell our Collegewise students–challenge yourself sanely.

You should take difficult classes to prepare for college.  Hard work is good.  A little stress is good.  The occasional late night is OK.  Successful people know how to take on and manage challenges, and a rigorous curriculum helps you learn that skill.

But you should it in a sane way. 

If your courses are so difficult that you have to stay up until 2 a.m. every night just to keep up, that’s not sane—you’re overscheduled. 

If you have to quit an activity you love just to manage your schoolwork, the challenge is no longer sane. 

If you’re constantly worried about school, if you can’t name a favorite class or teacher, and if you’re working so hard that you just don’t like school anymore and can’t wait for the year to be over, your classes are too hard.  You’re challenging yourself, but you‘re sacrificing sleep, fun and sanity to do it.  It’s not worth it.  You’re giving up more than the challenge will pay back.  And no college wants to admit a student who’s academically burned out before they even get to college. 

Challenging yourself sanely means that you enroll in the most difficult classes you can handle while still sleeping enough, enjoying your activities, and seeing your friends and family on a regular basis.  When in doubt, identify your favorite subjects (which will usually also be your strongest) and direct your efforts towards excelling there.  Be an enthusiastic and engaged learner.  Thrive in your best subjects and just do your best in the others. 

Hard work should feel good.  It should give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.  If your curriculum is making you tired and demoralized, make some changes and start challenging yourself sanely.