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.
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.