Excellent letter to the NYTimes editor from Sarah Lee ’10:

Four years ago I was a freshman in college, and I lapped up this sort of advice: Branch out, do everything and anything, go all out.

But within my first month of college, I had pulled my fifth all-nighter and had a scratched cornea from keeping my contacts in too long. I was coxing for the crew team and writing editorials for the newspaper. I stayed up with my dorm mates in the laundry room discussing J. S. Mill and what so-and-so did last night when he was drunk. But I was burnt out.

So here’s some more cautious advice that I wish someone had told me four years ago: Don’t spread yourself too thin, but find one or two activities that you truly love and stick with them. Make new friends, but don’t let go of those best friends from high school because friends, old and new, are all precious.

Study hard and study what you love because our economy today needs bright minds. And finally, sleep when you need to, because a scratched cornea is no fun.

Sarah Lee
Busan, South Korea, Sept. 27, 2010

The writer, a 2010 graduate of Williams College, is in South Korea on a Fulbright.

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