Big Girl Pants: Not Taking On Too Much

Club fairs, internship offers, classes and part-time jobs are all beginning.

It’s easy to sign your name to a bunch of club newsletter lists, but eventually, you’ll have to make some choices as to what you want to follow through on and which you don’t.

I am a perfect example of taking on too much. I always knew I didn’t want to regret not doing something. I played collegiate field hockey, pledged a sorority, worked at the study abroad office, actually studied abroad, lived in a sustainable living facility and kept up with multiple internships and part-time jobs.

Looking back, there is nothing I wish I did, aside from maybe relaxing a bit more.

Half way through your college experience, you might feel as though your responsibilities and commitments are gobbling you up. I am not condoning running from responsibility, but one way I started over was through the National Student Exchange. I realized I had a lot of commitments and I no longer was too happy. I realized as a 20 year old, I didn’t need that much stress.

I made some phone calls and prepared a trip with the National Student Exchange. I figured out that a school 3,000 miles away had the courses I needed and was cheaper for me to go to. I got to relive some study abroad moments (packing for four months in two bags, meeting new people from all over the world, exploring a new area). I am a proud alumna of all of the organizations I was apart of while at my home school back in New Jersey. Now, when I have a few hours in between classes and internship work, I get to explore California with new friends. I scheduled courses into my schedule that make sense to my academic career that I wouldn’t be able to have done otherwise.

If half way through your college years, you feel as though your life is more stressful than you can manage, go over to your school’s study abroad office and check out if they participate in the National Student Exchange.

If you don’t have this as an option or traveling isn’t for you, be honest with yourself and with others about how much you can take on. Exploit your opportunities; go out there and do stuff; but be sure to take some time for yourself too.

Get Involved on Your Campus

If you had to guess, how many clubs would you say there are on your campus? Maybe five, ten, twenty? Try Hundreds! Often college campuses will have a wide array of student groups, clubs and programs for you to get involved in. You may find it hard to believe—where do all those student groups hide? But I promise you, they’re there, and they are waiting for students like you to come check them out! Student clubs and organizations are an important part of a college experience. Whether you’re interested in Greek life, student governance, or academics, there is a niche right for you—you just have to find it!

So why should you get involved? Who cares if there’s a science club, or sister society? You should! Student organizations can be a lot of fun. Here are my top reasons why you should get involved:

1. We are social creatures by nature. There is nothing wrong with a quiet night at home every once in a while. However, there are times when it becomes necessary, some might even say crucial, that you get up, swap the sweats for real pants and mingle with your peers. It’s healthy to interact with others, even if it’s just once in a while. We all know you have to sit in class with Sue Something and Bobby what’s his name, but do you really know anything about them? What’s their favorite hangout? What do they like to do on the weekends? If you don’t give your snuggie a break, and leave your dorm room for fresh air, you might never know!

Student groups, whatever they might be—sororities, fraternities, student government, resident life, mock trials—you can find something that fits both your schedule and your social style. Just give these groups a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised. Some of the best college relationships—friendships and romances—start in student groups, that’s how I met my leading man! You never know who might share your interests! So go find out!

2. Another reason to get involved? Connections, connections, connections! Professors, administrators, and high ups in universities are often advisors or contacts of student groups. If you want to know the ins and outs of your school, or get guidance on jobs, resumes or even events, student clubs should be on your go-to list! Plus, you will instantly find a group of students who share your interests, passions and even schedules!

3. When you look back on your four years of college, what do you think you’ll remember? The test you studied for that one afternoon, at that one time, in the middle of that one month? Or the time you decided to run for class senator and gave a speech in front of the whole quad and taped posters up in every academic building? You only get to do college once—if you’re lucky! So make the most of your time and build memories that are going to last forever. Lots of groups will have formals, parties, social events and even dinners—perfect opportunities for pictures and memory making! The rallies you throw on campus, or the events you put on for the students will leave a mark on not only your memory, but will be a part of your school forever. Show your spirit, and share your skills with your school and get involved. You won’t regret it—in fact you’ll look back and be happy you did! You will have people to seek out at reunions, pages to flip to in the yearbook and memories to share with your kids some day!

Student organizations are easy ways to meet and greet with your peers, build relationships and get involved with something that interests you. You can always take time for yourself, but remember, once school is over, it’s much harder to find clubs and groups that will welcome you with such open arms—and often no membership fee!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading Strangers to These Shores: Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States with Research Navigator