Even Rubber Bands Can Break

As college students, we have so many opportunities to get involved in different campus groups, extracurricular activities, and various student programs. We could join here, serve there, take on campus leadership rolls, go to this event, show support for this program, and so on.
With all of the opportunities we have to give back to our campus or invest in our college/university, it can be easy to take on a little too much for our schedules. We want to be active students and get involved on campus, but sometimes, we overwhelm ourselves with all the things we can do, and end up spreading ourselves a little too thin.
Being involved on campus is great, but what you’re involved in, or how much you’re involved in, does not define you. I sometimes find myself thinking that I have to do a little bit of everything. But for someone who’s never been good at doing anything halfway, a “little bit of everything” turns into a whole lot of responsibility.
I quickly find myself trying to bite off more than I can chew. In theory, being a part of a lot of different campus groups and organizations seems great. You meet new friends, make new connections, make a difference, and have some great additions to your resume. But what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate into the real world quite as well.
I’ve found myself feeling as though my few responsibilities or involvements weren’t enough to make a difference, or to be worth much. I felt as though I had to do more, get involved in more, make more connections, take on more responsibility, join more organizations. But it was okay, right? I could stretch myself a little. Or a lot. I could manage.
I quickly realized, however, that I could only do so much before I felt the effects of such a full, hectic schedule. I hardly slept, had no energy, got sick easily, and always felt stressed. I thought I was being “productive” but what I was actually doing was putting too much strain on myself both physically and emotionally.
The fact is that it didn’t matter how much I did, it didn’t make me any better of a person or student. I was torn in so many directions that it was negatively effecting my health and ability to function.
I wasn’t able to give my full effort to all of my different responsibilities. My attention was scattered. I constantly felt overwhelmed and underprepared. I was about to break. That’s when I realized something had to change.
After looking at all of my responsibilities and all of the organizations I had joined, I realized I had to cut back for the sake of my health and sanity. I picked the responsibilities I couldn’t drop, and reevaluated which organizations I really wanted to be a part of, then cut the rest.
After I cut back, I realized just how freeing the decision was and how much better I felt. I was able to sleep, keep up with my work load, and still be a part of the things that really mattered to me. The best part about it was that I was still making a difference. I was still involved on campus. I was still getting to meet new people and take on responsibilities.
I learned that what I do or how much I do doesn’t define my worth or value as a person. I’m not a better student for being involved in more organizations. I’m not a better person for taking on more responsibility.
Being a good student is managing my time well and not overloading my schedule with obligations. I grow as a person when I only take on as many responsibilities as I can devote the time and energy to keep.
From one busy college student to another, don’t overload your schedule with unnecessary obligations, or overwhelm yourself with too many responsibilities. It’s okay if you only get involved in one organization, or have fewer responsibilities than others. Only take on what you can handle without stretching yourself too thin.
You don’t have to do everything. But in everything you do, give your best.
With love,

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