A Thin Layer of Butter On a Large Piece of Toast

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In order to understand why I and countless other college students transformed from rich, thick butter that everyone adores and desires into a miniscule scoop of 99¢ dairy, a trip back to high school is needed.

It’s simple to succeed as a piece of toast in a single building where every teacher has taught the same academia for years. Posters for clubs are easily spotted and tutoring for standardized tests is readily available. The goal for all of the students in this building is to go off and prosper at another school.

The simplicity of earning excellent grades in accelerated courses, joining student council and honors societies and gaining acceptance into your desired school makes you feel like a renowned, well-rounded teenager (or for comparison’s sake, a delicious piece of toast). Here’s to continuing this in college. This incorrect perception landed me to who I am now—an over-worked, over-involved college student who is the exact definition of cheap butter on a huge slice of toast—spread too thin.

High school ended and I’m ecstatic to arrive at UGA and embrace all of the opportunities around me. As a freshman, I joined a philanthropy organization for children with AIDS and student government organization, becoming my dorm community president.

Although each of these incredible organizations return me to my comfort zone of extracurricular participation, I slowly begin to realize these weekly meetings, a part-time job and 15 hours of classes is the wrong combination for a college freshman.

At each meeting I attend, I’m unable to commit 100 percent. I’m pre-occupied with the homework I have to finish, the errands I have to run to get items for a dorm program and the nagging thoughts that I will never fully make friends with the other people in these organizations because every time they would make plans, I have another commitment.

This day I realize I am no longer a perfectly browned, well-evened butter covered piece of toast. I was barely covering a quarter of toast, and that meek quarter was bargain butter that no one ever wants to buy—meaning that I’m not giving my best to any of these commitments and something needed to change.

All it took was one step back to realize that I could no longer be the stellar, overachieving student I was in high school, and shockingly, everyone already seemed to know that. People were understanding of my other commitments and more than glad to grant me a day off or to relieve some of my responsibilities.

I am entering next semester with fewer hours and more understanding, and will be able to devote myself better to these clubs that inspired me initially. The understanding is that college students cannot remain the pristine piece of toast they were before; the bread will get moldy and the butter will expire.

The best choice to make is to ease yourself into this new, terrifying place. It’s much better to devote passion and time into one or two organizations, all of your classes and personal relationships rather than trying to live up to high school status.

Put simply, be the best butter that groceries stores can offer.

A freshman at the University of Georgia that's majoring in journalism! Lover of Italian food, coffee, and Harry Potter.

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