Weighing the Options and Finding a Balance

Every semester of college I run into the same issue: on top of the challenge to choose the courses I want to take, there are so many events and activities, organizations and work options, and seemingly endless opportunities to gain experience. There simply isn’t enough time for everything I want to do. I have to set a boundary that I try to set to stop myself from going overboard. It’s a predicament because I don’t want to limit myself; at the same time, though, I need to be sure that I find a balance so that I can fulfill all of my commitments successfully.

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During my first two years of undergrad, I was testing the waters a bit. I would attend club meetings, look up research opportunities, and see what I enjoyed doing and wanted to continue with. I was excited – not only did I want to become involved, but I wanted to reach the top and become a leader. My goal was to join the executive board (E-board) of any organization before I graduated. I wanted to succeed, I wanted to reach what appeared to be the topmost position a student can have on campus, and one I was most likely eligible to be a part of. Achieving success became my motivation.

After several years of academic effort and campus involvement, it finally happened this year that I have been able to make a place for myself in the university. I am now in the middle of performing research in the chemistry department, I am preparing to continue as a senior academic peer advisor for the coming year, and I have been elected as Secretary for one of my honor societies, National Society of Collegiate Scholars. My hard work has led me to these successes, and I am readying myself for these commitments in addition to the courses that I will be taking at the same time.

I worked hard for two to three years and I can now see that my skills and presence are in demand. Now that I can see the fruits of my labor, I am motivated to be even more involved to get more experience. I am facing an internal debate, though. One part of me is excited to take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to me. Another part of me is worried that I won’t be able to handle the extra workload. I have been nominated for several other honor society e-board positions, but I don’t want to push myself to the point where I am so overwhelmed that I lose the same enthusiasm that first inspired and motivated me.

I have considered my options, charted out my schedule, and tried to determine how to best accommodate all of the activities I want to take a leadership position in. It’s basically a “breadth vs depth” issue at this point. Do I want to be very involved in every activity, or do I want to participate in many activities but only take on a leadership role in a few? I find it difficult to decide when I have several valuable opportunities to choose from. As I proceed through this decision-making process, I realize that I will end up choosing the depth option. To maintain a proper balance in my life, I will pursue only a few of the opportunities that are available to me.

If I have made a commitment, I will follow through with it. The question is: How many commitments should I take upon, and will I be successful in each endeavor? I have found that it is necessary to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Here is where quality trumps quantity. I don’t want to push myself to the point where I am so overwhelmed that I lose the same enthusiasm that first inspired me and continues to motivate me as I work to become a professional. I have to adjust, do some fine-tuning, to ensure that I can spend enough time pursuing my interests to have the meaningful experience that I aim for. I want to stop, analyze, and reflect on moments, rather than rush through and try to remember why I was involved in the first place, and what I learned in the process.


One thought on “Weighing the Options and Finding a Balance

  1. It is awesome that your hard work has paid off! You can see that you are very dedicated and achieve what you set your mind to. I think that what you are doing is great, sit back and think what is most important to you and only make time for what you can. Don’t overwhelm yourself! Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and smell the roses ☺ keep up your hard work you will get far!

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