Nothing beats the first week on campus when the Activities Fair rolls around. It’s here that you learn that there really is a club for everyone. You're also tempted to want to join everything. It might seem okay in the first few weeks after joining those 10 clubs, but it could backfire. Over-extending yourself isn't always bad depending on what type of person you are, but here are some tips on how to not feel overwhelmed just in case.
1. Pick three or four clubs you really connect with
You’re going to want to join everything, and that’s totally okay! There are a lot, and it’s hard to keep track of what you have when you have three or four on the same day after classes. Taking two or three classes a day is already hard work, and you don’t want to add to the stress just because you think a hobby like drawing is cool. You can draw on your own time, you don’t need a designated club to do that. What you should do instead, is find a select few that really hit home like clubs you were a part of in high school, or ones that seem to resonate best with your beliefs whether they be religious, athletic, or somewhere in between.
2. Pick classes that you actually enjoy taking
It may be difficult for the first semester to make this change if you don’t like your classes, but you should really consider doing this in the spring. You may or may not like all of your classes, but this period really helps you figure out if you enjoy certain things more than others. Taking classes that you enjoy make it a lot easier to pay attention and a lot easier to study for the midterms and exams. However, if you don’t like the material, you're not going to feel compelled to study for the class. That’s exactly why adjusting your schedule to put yourself in classes that you enjoy is the best option.
3. Don’t join clubs just because your friends want to join them
I get that you want to hang out with your friends as much as possible and that’s awesome. Obviously you want to be in clubs that your friends are in and there’s no doubt that they are some great clubs to be in, but if you’re not one hundred percent invested in the club, why join? It's important that you center the clubs you join around your interests and career goals because this will give you a reason to want to go to the numerous meetings throughout the year.
4. Think about the commitment
The first four weeks of no serious exams or projects are a breeze, but then midterms come along and you find yourself cramming for three or four of them at a time. Are you really going to be able to attend all of your club meetings when you have to learn how to transcribe Old English? Probably not. This is where you start to learn your limits and develop time management skills. Think about every week being exam week; you wouldn’t want to commit your entire night to clubs if you have an exam because you need to study. Surprisingly, there are priorities. You just need to find them.
5. Use the 8/8/8 Method
I’ve definitely mentioned this method before, but it’s worth mentioning again. The 8/8/8 method is very simple. Eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, eight hours of rest or relaxation. A good amount of sleep will really benefit you if you want to take on all of those clubs, but you have to know yourself and what works best for you. Sleep is always the best option, and if you can’t get all eight hours in at once, consider a nap. Just a couple 15 minute power naps daily really help to keep your mind clear and energized and will allow you to attack whatever may come your way, be it an exam, a meeting, a bear or an essay. You got this.
It is possible to take on all of those clubs, classes, and events that you're interested in, but you have to limit yourself in terms of what you really need to prioritize in college. Remember, it’s not just about having the best experience of your life it’s about being able to come out in four years with a degree and skills that will help you get a job. Prioritize accordingly.
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