About Working Hard and Playing Hard

I believe this last semester has been the highlight of my 4 years in college. This was the peak of my extracurricular life and my academic life. This semester I feel that I was exposed to people who firmly hold on to the principle: work hard play hard.

It started in HNMUN where I witnessed these ‘bule guys‘ working with Sparta level energy at day and then let loose at night and continue working hard during the day. I actually admired that. I admired how these people effectively use ‘their office hours time‘ to be productive and their after hours time to let loose and have fun. Being raised in a strict family where no such thing exists, seeing such a pattern has added a new perspective. It is possible to excel in school or anything you are pursuing even if you enjoy having a drink or go have a good time with your friends. Funny thing is, after HNMUN I discovered a group of my classmates that are similar to the bule guys in HNMUN. It is so weird…after 3-ish years in this major, I found out that they were fun to hang out with during our last months together. I already had a group of people to go out with, but since we were from different majors matching schedules and finding a mutual available time was so tricky, we only went out probably once or twice per semester.

It’s a shame that in Indonesia, the stigma is that people who party or drink are usually slackers and naughty people who suck at school, do drugs, and etc. The major assumption is that partying/drinking is destructive. The thing is, you can’t generalize that and hastily judge someone negatively once you find out he/she drinks or parties. Does partying or drinking make you a bad person? I don’t think so. I know good people who have achieved great things academically and career-wise who enjoy partying every once in a while. Partying doesn’t always mean going home with a random stranger and having a one night stand. It depends on who you go out with and your intentions. I think it’s still acceptable if one parties or goes out for drinks to release some tension to hard or live music and a few cold cocktails.  Well, it’s a different story if, let’s say, drinking is against your religious/life principles. One’s decision regarding that is totally personal. Well, I’m no club hopper or party animal. I’m not the party every weekend type, since I also enjoy weekend nights staying in with a good book or a DVD. Occasionally, my friends and I go out for some drinks. But we do so to have a good bonding time, play a game and just talk a lot. 20-somethings talking, playing truth or dare, and enjoying cold drinks with classic rock music playing. But afterwards we go home and wake up the next morning and go back to our labs and continue whatever work we were doing. Super casual, super chill, and super fun.

I believe the key between the 2 is balance. Too much of anything ain’t good right? There is a fine line between having fun and being irresponsible. You have to be sure that you are responsible, you know exactly what you are doing, you know the consequences, and you go out with people you trust and have your back. You have to have a plan of what you have to do after the party/social scene. You have to know your limits. After how many drinks do you become tipsy? How many drinks are enough for you to relax but still sober enough to talk and look after yourself plus your friends? You have to know the tricks to stay safe and not be misguided by strangers. Have a solid group of friends that are in it for fun but also there to have their friends’ backs. I think partying or drinking is fine, only if you are also working hard. So the next time you find out someone drinks/parties, keep in mind that one’s decision to have fun or engage socially does not define his/her character, achievements, and capabilities.

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