A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 24, 2012
“Good grades, enough sleep, or a social life—pick any two”

A common college saying is that a student can “pick/choose any two—good grades, enough sleep, or a social life.” Accomplishing all three is not possible.

The 1992 Princeton Review college guide stated that “M.I.T. Pick two: work, friends, sleep” was “an old M.I.T. joke.” The 1999 U.S. News & World Report college guide stated that an “old campus saw” at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was “Grades, social life, sleep: Pick two;” in 1997, the Princeton Review college guide described the Caltech saying as “Sleep, study, socialize: Pick two.” It’s not known if the saying originated at MIT or Caltech, but the saying was included in college guidebooks in the 2000s and has been used at most other colleges.

“Grades, sleep, social life—pick any two” borrows the form of an older business saying, “Fast, cheap, good—pick any two.”

Google Books
The Student Access Guide to the Best Colleges
Edited by Tom Meltzer, Zach Knower, John Katzman; Princeton Review (Firm)
New York, NY: Villard Books
Pg. 318:
There’s an old M.I.T. joke that goes, “M.I.T. Pick two: work, friends, sleep.”

Google Books
The Best 311 Colleges (1998 edition)
Edited by Edward T Custard; Princeton Review (Firm); et al.
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. 104:
“Sleep, study, socialize: Pick two.” That’s life in a nutshell at Caltech.

U.S. News & World Report
Caltech Comes Out on Top
For the first time, a science and engineering powerhouse leads the U.S. News academic rankings

By Ben Wildavsky
Posted 8/22/99
Page 3 of 3
Night life. Some Techers talk about their love-hate relationship with a college where the educational experience is often compared to drinking from a firehose. An old campus saw describes Caltech life as follows: “Grades, social life, sleep: Pick two.” Nocturnal hours are so much a part of campus culture that most professors don’t bother trying to schedule morning classes until 10 a.m. or later. Last year, one computer science lab section met from midnight to 2 a.m. “You concentrate so much on work that you can forget about the rest of the world,” says Knouf.

24 October 1999, Greensboro (NC) News and Record, “Who’s No. 1?” by Tim Thornton, pg. B1:
“‘Sleep, study, socialize: Pick two.’ That’s life in a nutshell at Caltech,’’ according the Princeton Review, a guide that claims to list the 331 best colleges in America.

21 June 2001, Daily Herald (Chicago, IL), “A look at the top,” Neighbor section, pg. 1:
“Sleep, social life, grades ... pick two.”

Google Books
The Fiske Guide to Colleges
New York, NY: Times Books
Pg. 106:
One slogan says students can pick two: sleep, social life, or work.

Google Books
The Best Northeastern Colleges, 2011 Edition
By Princeton Review
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. 264:
One student refers to a popular saying on campus, “Academics, social life, and sleep: pick two.”

California Institute of Technology—Undergraduate Admissions
February 14, 2011
Sleep, Study, Socialize: Choose Two
My midterm grades are posted! And I am doing so, so much better than I did last term. You know the saying, “Sleep, study, socialize. Choose two”? It’s sadly true. My happier grades this midterm period have been at the cost of decreased socializing [and swimming].

UTM Student Housing & Residence Life Blog
“Choose Two: Good Grades, Social Life, or Enough Sleep”
December 28, 2011
Wise words spoken to me by a wise Don.

Grades, social life and sleep do seem to be a bit of a balancing act for any university student.

Unicorn Express
March 11, 2012 by mykeyboardspeaks
One of my favourites, and one that really interests me is the idea that teenagers can pick two out of:

1. Good Grades
2. Enough Sleep
3. A Social Life

Google Books
The Best 377 colleges (2013)
Edited by Robert Franek and Laura Braswell
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. 132:
“They say you get to pick two: sleep, good grades, or a social life,” goes the mantra.

The Elm (student newspaper of Washington College, Chestertown, MD)
Grades, Sleep and Social Life: Does college let you have it all?
Posted by The Elm on August 24, 2012
By Katie Tabeling, Opinion Editor
Every college student has heard of the old saying: “Grades, sleep and social life. Pick two.” If you haven’t, welcome to Washington College. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is true.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • (1) Comments • Friday, August 24, 2012 • Permalink