For some students, a daily routine may include: gym, tan, laundry (and sometimes class). However, for many current undergrads the need to be involved is quickly becoming a top priority. Whether it’s student government, history honors society, the tennis team or even the Twilight fan club, students across the country are bound to be a part of something.
For those just entering college, it’s likely that students will feel the pressure to contribute some of their time to an activity. Harvard freshman Gabriella Giugliano recalled being bombarded with signs and posters encouraging students to become involved.
“There’s this expectation that you will continue to have the same level of involvement as you did in high school because you have more free time, but that’s not always the case," she said.
While many universities preach the benefits of being involved within their school, they often shy from discussing the possibilities of students being over involved and the heavy stress that can come with it.
So how does one ace the balancing act? First, it’s necessary to consider which activities are the most valuable to a student. In order to do this it’s crucial to survey a number of diverse areas of involvement. Students should also consider questions such as: How will this activity look on my resume? What type of people will I meet? What is the time commitment? This will help students who may have taken on too much at once narrow down what is important to them and will benefit them in the long run.
Giugliano notes that as freshmen she and her friends were guilty of taking on too much. “I definitely signed up for too much at once, because it’s hard to know what you want to do right when you get to school,” Giugliano said. “But ultimately I was able to narrow my options down.”
For those who are currently getting involved, USAnews.com encourages students to “go outside of your comfort zone when looking for groups to join—oftentimes these are the most rewarding experiences.” By doing this, students may discover an activity that fits their requirements and is most importantly enjoyable and fun.
Competing, committing and rewarding
Even upperclassmen can feel the stress in regards to having something to show potential employers. As competition increases amongst students for job placement and other areas where undergrads strive to succeed, many may begin to feel as if their activities are more of a job than an extracurricular.
James Kelley, a junior at Iona College, agreed the stakes have definitely been raised in terms of not only being involved on campus but also having some form of work experience. “Many don’t understand the level of commitment that activities require. I began working part-time so I could add something to my resume, but it’s been hard to balance with schoolwork.”
Students should remember to reward themselves for their effort. They shouldn’t feel the need to spend all their time buried in a textbook or planning ahead for next weeks meeting. Many universities today have adopted the catchy saying “work hard, play hard,” illustrating that it’s certainly possible for students to succeed in every area of college life while still maintaining a social life.
Ultimately, students should remember that a little can go a long way. Although students may want to join every intramural team while also writing for the school paper, it may just not be possible. No matter what students choose to be involved with, it is important for them to make sure it is something they enjoy and fits well into their schedule.