Editor’s Note: Allyson Slovak is a senior accountancy student with background education in the fine arts and musical arts. Being a violinist of 12 years, she is heavily involved in music, including composition and teaching. She is a member of the Gamma Pi chapter of Beta Alpha Psi and volunteers with animal shelters and animal rescue groups. In her free time, she likes to run, go on long hikes, and do yoga.
The average student abides by the law of three: sleep, good grades, and a social life. It’s said that you can only have two of these in your life and have to kiss the other one goodbye. For those who want to have a good job after they graduate, sleep and good grades seem like the two most important options. However, when it comes to business, one should not underestimate the importance of a social life.
When first coming to NIU, I assumed that the smartest thing for me to do was get good grades and keep up my health by getting the recommended amount of sleep every night. I planned to study diligently during the week and reward myself with a fun Friday and Saturday night, probably with friends from home since I’d be working so much during the week.
However, I found myself slipping with my plans. It started out at Meet the Firm Night, a professional event held every semester by the NIU Department of Accountancy where a plethora of accounting firms come to NIU to recruit accountancy students. I ended up having a lengthy conversation about football with an old NIU student who was visiting with his firm. Then there came the girl I met during interviews; she ended up being in my classes and I’d spend a lot of atrium study time chatting with her. Instead of only studying during my free time at my temporary position at a well-known firm, I’d find myself wandering over to my co-workers’ cubes and asking them how their weekends had been.
Now it’s almost two years later, and I realize how silly my plans for NIU were. That old student I talked to at Meet the Firm Night had the recruiter at my most desired firm contact me and schedule an interview for me that led to an internship and then full-time position. The girl I talked to after class in the atrium ended up interning at the same firm and introducing me to many people from a group I was interested in at the firm. As for the co-workers at my job, I established a network there that ended with a full-time job offer, an open door, and many expressing their interest in my joining their groups if I ever decided to come back.
The friendships I have made at school and work are not only a positive impact on my life, a laugh between classes/meetings, and help when I don’t understand something, but I owe my whole career to the relationships I have established. I obviously would not have been considered for my offers had I not had a decent resume, but I surpassed those with a better resume due to my relationships.
My point is not to focus explicitly on your social life and obtain the most friends imaginable so you can use them to get you somewhere. Nobody likes a forced friendship, and people see through fake friendliness. Instead, recognize that the relationships you make in life are very important in many ways.
So don’t worry about getting exactly 8 hours of sleep a night and getting 100% on every exam, quiz, and homework assignment. Stop and get to know the people around you. Recognize that life is a balancing act, and it’s not impossible to get all three aspects of the law of three. You might fall asleep on your bowl of pasta here or there, but hey, at least you’ll have somebody to laugh about it with the next day.