每每回想到上学期的第一个星期，那些和朋友在一起的美好日子，不管是吃了一顿四个小时的晚餐然后没有目的地闲逛校园，是在中央公园听我最喜欢的演唱会，还是一起为了公益在舞蹈马拉松跳到早上七点，开心总是溢于言表。 可是无论这种满足感多么真切，在哥大的校园里这种自发性和开心总是很难延续很久，因为一种不安感总会袭来。几天之后，你就会发现自己又没有完成按时完成阅读、做完习题。吃饭大多数时候只是为填饱肚子，少了和朋友叙旧的晚餐，与之而来的是不尽的压力。 问题是，我们每时每刻都在焦虑着。我们大概从高中起就开始做我们力所能及并且舒服范围之外的事情了。进取心或是野心，即使不是我们的天性，在接到一个名校的录取通知书的时候，那种不安感也会迫使你“用功”：一方面，你不愿辜负社会对你的期望，想要发挥自己的潜能;另一方面，你知道你的出众在这个人才辈出的顶尖名校不过平庸。 所以，你可以明白为什么我们总是过度工作，去参加一些我们原本并没有期待的工作和活动。最后在过度熬夜、高压和焦虑中，成为身体上和精神上都最不健康的学生。我在为“学生健康项目”摆桌的时候，很多学生写到如果可以把退掉一门课，从而有更多的时间，他们会睡觉，会读闲书，会做饭，会去纽约下城逛逛，会去见见教授、聊聊天，健身，和朋友一起玩——可是几乎没有一个人有这样的勇气。相反，弹琴、素描和表演等等我们挚爱的兴趣，却成为了我们社交和生理需求的公敌。(译者注：美国大学生常常说，学习、睡觉、和社交只能选两样 )同时，哥大著名的核心课程里那些原本倍加鼓舞人心的书籍和阅读，早被Sparknotes之类的名著简介取代——在这个“快餐时代”，我们都忘了选课、加社团和找实习的初衷到底是什么。 如果这样的话，我不知道究竟是我们在利用哥伦比亚大学绝好的教育资源，还是被资源所利用?更加可惜的是，当自己的兴趣都变成了浅尝辄止、自我安慰的过场游戏，我们不但这样为了结果忽视了过程，也在逐渐地远离自己的理想生活。当我们不断安慰自己，只有两页密密麻麻、成就无数的简历才可以找到我们理想工作的时候，我们常常忘记了那些多余的、让我们过度工作以至于焦虑的工作，相比于让我们进入理想的娱乐老虎机学院，更多时候只是徒增皱纹白发。所以，我给那些想给“轻松的课程量”加课的同学，和那些想在金融业找到一个暑期实习的学弟学妹的建议是：如果这是你真正热爱的，去做吧!——但是请记住，在你回答之前好好思考一下真正的热爱意味着什么。 不如，让我们的目标简单些，再简单些。让大学成为一个我们真正感到快乐并享受的时光，然后去探索我们想成为一个怎样的人。人生太过短暂，我们不可以为了所谓的“最终的理想生活”不断推迟个人当下的幸福。至少有一个学期，我们应该尝试一下大学生活的另一面：懂得舍弃，简化一些课程和活动，留些时间去真正地了解自己，认识些之前永远没时间结交的有趣朋友，去体味什么才真正地滋养、而不是榨干我们。只有真正地放松，才能让我们体会到，也许我们更喜欢通过和同龄人聊他们所热忱地事物而自我成长。 那些持有不同意见的人也许会说，健康、适度地压力对于激励我们实现我们地潜能是有必要的。尽管我很同意这样的观点，在哥大这样过度用功的大环境，我们已经谈不上真正的健康了，更不用提很多时间我们眼中所谓的实现潜能是和成为一个高效的赚钱机器化等号的。来看一下麻省理工大学的学制吧(尽管它们疯狂学习的程度也不是那么健康的)，它们正常的课程量是4-4.5门课。在达特茅斯，为了限制学生过度选课，如果每学期上四门课、连上了一年(相当于在哥大两个学期都上了六门课，即选课极限)，学生要缴更多的学费。如果你觉得这个很可笑，哈佛日报里曾有一篇文章，里面把20个上6门或者6门以上功课的学生描述成疯狂的受虐狂。 如果你在嘲笑哈佛的学生，那么你没有体悟这些规定背后的意义。 到最后，少，反而是多。我们应该利用大学地宝贵时光去追求自己地兴趣，去结识朋友，参加有益的活动，而不是仅是在Facebook(美国的人人网)这种社交平台上看到这样的新鲜事。到最后，绝没有一个人，哪怕是未来雇主，会因为我们选择发展自己、而不是完成第二学位而觉得我们不够优秀。退掉一门课吧：生活会顿时美好! 本编文章是哥伦比亚一名大四学生 Steven Castellano 2013年1月28日在校报发表的一篇文章，引起了哥大学生巨大的共鸣。史蒂夫主修生物物理学，是哥大学生事务代表以及学生健康项目的决策者之一。译者翟梦琦，哥大和UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School在读本科留学生。 As I reflect on the first week of my last semester at Columbia, I am filled with elation from the great times spent with friends, whether it be eating four-hour dinners and wandering the campus aimlessly, or goofing off at the Winter Jam in Central Park and dancing till 7 a.m. at the CU Dance Marathon. But as I continue reflecting, a wave of gloom overcomes me when I realize that the pervading spontaneity and optimism throughout the campus may not last. In a matter of days, we will fall behind on readings and problem sets, our dinners will become increasingly rooted only in their function of sustenance, and the pallor of stress will creep across our faces. The problem is that for many of us, this anxiety is all we know. We have likely been habituated since high school or earlier to biting off more than we can comfortably chew. And even if ambition was not always in our DNA, it certainly was spliced in as we faced the dual insecurities that accompanied our acceptance letters: living up to societal expectations for our exceptional aptitudes and discovering that such exceptionality is mediocrity at our new home. Given these forces, it should be no surprise that they coalesced to pressure us into taking on more responsibilities than we want and to accordingly compete to be the most physically and mentally unwell students we could be. When I was tabling for the Student Wellness Project this week, students filled out Post-its saying they would sleep, pleasure-read, cook, go downtown, go to office hours, work out, and chill with friends if they gained the time that came with dropping a class, yet few were inspired to carry through with doing so. Instead, we all watch as beloved pastimes like playing piano, sketching, and acting become enemies to our social and physiological needs. All the while, inspiring course readings get SparkNoted as we do whatever we can to get a good grade, often forgetting why we signed up for classes, clubs, internships, and more in the first place. In this way, we are making time for the opportunities at Columbia to take advantage of us, rather than the other way around. Even more ironically, though, is that as we turn real interests into superficial ones, we not only get wrapped up in living for ends rather than means, but we also sabotage ourselves from achieving our ends anyway. By giving into the pressure and belief that we need two-page résumés full of “accomplishments” in order to land our “dream jobs,” we often do not realize that these superfluous, unfulfilling, and overwhelming commitments do more to create wrinkles and gray hairs than they do to get us into grad school. Therefore, my response to the friend who wants to add another course to her “light” course load is the same as to the one pursuing a summer internship in finance: if that’s what you love, go for it—but be sure to remember what it means to love something before you answer. Instead, we should keep our goals simpler. Use college to make ourselves happy and explore who we want to be as people. Fulfillment and personal development should not be deferred when considering our short existences. Therefore, we should all spend at least one semester experiencing another side of college, minimally filling our schedules with activities in order to explore our personalities, meet new people, and discover what truly sustains rather than drains us. Only after relaxing can we know if we prefer educating ourselves simply through talking with peers about their passions. Dissenters may still say that a healthy level of stress is necessary to motivate us to reach our potential. And while I agree, I think we at Columbia have particularly lost all perspective on what’s healthy, not to mention that we often equate reaching our potential with becoming money-generating robots. Just look at our (likely still unhealthy) peer schools to see what I mean. A normal credit load at MIT is four to 4.5 courses. At Dartmouth, students face additional fees if they take four classes for more than 3 trimesters (the equivalent of taking six classes for more than two semesters). And if you want a good laugh, there’s an article in the Harvard Crimson where the 20 undergraduates taking six or more classes are portrayed as deranged masochists. If it’s the Harvard students you’re laughing at, you’re missing the point. Ultimately, less can be more. We can use college to pursue hobbies, socialize, and attend the campus events that we currently only notice when clearing our Facebook notifications. All the while, no one—including employers—will think any less of us for choosing to develop ourselves rather than our second major. Drop a class: It’s refreshing. The author Steven Castellano is a Columbia College senior majoring in biophysics. He is the Columbia College Student Council academic affairs representative and the Student Wellness Project policy chair. The translator Veronica Zhai is currently a Columbia College sophomore, who also goes to UNC Kenan-Flager Business School.