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Mar 05 2016
by Megan Choate

My Struggles With Getting Involved in College (And Why They're Okay)

By Megan Choate - Mar 05 2016

I've never been the type of person that enjoys just doing nothing. I want to constantly be out and about, experiencing as much as I possibly can - so it made sense that I was overly involved in high school. By senior year, I was in drama club, yearbook staff, student council, French club, TV production, and dance classes. 

And I hated almost all of it.

I was burnt out from trying to commit to so much at once. I felt like everyone wanted more from me than I had the energy to give. There were some days when I had 3 meetings scheduled at the same time and tried to make it to all of them! On top of that, I had AP coursework and the Common App to deal with. I wanted to cut down my to-do list to one or two activities that I really enjoyed, but I was afraid doing so would hurt my college applications. 

So I stuck it out - but promised myself that, once I got to college, I wouldn't make the same mistake again. I wouldn't waste time on any extracurricular I didn't love. It just wasn't worth it. 

When freshman year started, I wanted to try everything my university had to offer. I figured that, with all of the options I had, I'd find my passion and my on-campus family within weeks. Unfortunately, it hasn't been nearly that easy. I've auditioned for two a cappella groups and a dance troupe; all of them turned me down. I went to an improv comedy workshop, but hated it so much that I claimed I was going to the bathroom and snuck out. After two weeks on the publicity team at a magazine, I left because I disliked the people. I even rushed a coed fraternity, something I never thought I would consider doing, only to be left empty-handed on bid day. 

Not having a rehearsal or a meeting to go to every second of every day has been a bit of a shock to my system. Now that we're almost done with our freshman year, more of my friends have found student groups that they love. I'm in a few clubs, but they're a very small part of my life on campus. Sometimes it's tough to hear friends talk about how much fun they had at a rehearsal or the party they went to last weekend with their team. I wish I felt like I had that kind of a place here.

At the same time, though, I'm glad I haven't filled my schedule so quickly. It's been more difficult to seek out friends, but meeting people on my own has helped me ensure that I'm not wasting time on the wrong ones just because it's convenient. When someone asks if I want to go to a basketball game or a Bachelor watch party, I no longer have to say "I can't, I have rehearsal." (I've never had that kind of freedom before, and it's amazing!) Most importantly, I know that when I do find the right organization for me, I won't take it for granted. 

There are so many things a person can do in college that it's impossible to fit it all into four years. I don't want to waste a second. I'm going to make sure that everything I choose to take on is worth my energy and makes me feel fulfilled, so the promise I made to myself at the beginning of this journey won't be broken. 

If that means not having much to do for a little while, then so be it. I know that it'll be worth it in the end.

Lead image credit: Pixar

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Megan Choate - Syracuse University

Originally from Boston, Megan is a freshman at Syracuse University studying Public Relations. When she's not writing, you can find her cheering on the Orange in the Carrier Dome, dancing wherever there's music, looking at cute pictures of dogs even though she's scared of them, or planning her next trip to Disney World.

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