I have a B.A . in Political Science from Grambling State University and an Masters in Public Administration from Louisiana State University. I currently work as a survey researcher for LSU and as an organizer for Feminist Majority for a Democratic Senate. Publications I have written for include The Drum Newspaper in Baton Rouge, La; The Hampton Institution and TheGrid10.com .
Upon arrival on campus, most new freshmen are bombarded with opportunities for extracurricular involvement. Clubs and organizations are scrambling for new members. Plus, students are encouraged to get partake in activities as a means of meeting people and enhancing their resumes. Both are true. However, what is not discussed as often is the fact that being overly involved may not be the best thing academically or from a personal well-being standpoint.
We all know the type– the person who seems to always be on their way to a meeting and who is president of at least five organizations. Sometimes, these people are great leaders within their campus communities. Other times, they are overbooked and popularity driven. When I was an undergraduate at Grambling State University, I was fortunate enough to be learn what would work for me and what wouldn’t early on. At first, I wanted to eventually become Student Government Association president. However, after witnessing all that took .I realized that I could not do that, be a full time student and give my all to both. Some people made balancing such commitments with school look effortless. I knew I couldn’t. As a result, I decided to pursue less time consuming roles in SGA and moderate campus involvement in general. In contrast, there were people that I knew who were so heavily involved that they ended up neglecting their academics and ultimately not being able to return to school for failing to maintain grade requirements.
It is important to remember that you are, first and foremost, a student. Involvement means nothing if you do not graduate. That is why it is crucial to be sure to not bite off more than you can chew and to join organizations and become engaged in activities for the right reasons. Joining something simply to increase your notoriety is not a good idea. Being involved a particular activity just because your parent or an older sibling may have been is a big no no. Doing something that you have no interest in because your friends are is a waste of time. There are three reasons that you SHOULD get involved with an organization or activity. First of all, it is important for your activities to allow you to showcase your talents, build skills that are relevant to your goals and network with others in your field. If you enjoy writing and plan on pursuing a career as a writer, look into getting your work into campus publications. Also, joining departmental organizations or national organizations relating to your field is important. Secondly, as someone who is fortunate enough to be at a university, community service is very important. This could mean joining a campus health organization or simply volunteering for a campus wide volunteer initiatives. Finally, if you do balance an activity with classes and studying, make sure that it is something that you enjoy. What is the point in committing yourself to something that brings you no fulfillment?
College is a time for learning, exploring ideas and interests and setting the tone for the rest of your life. It is true that many lessons will be taught outside of the classroom. However, it is important to realize that what’s being taught in the classroom is the reason that you are paying tuition. Get involved on your campus. Just make sure you remember to do so in a way that does not interfere with your studies and leaves time for rest and relaxation.