How I Balance Being Involved on Campus and Classes

Katie Arestad

Going to college is much more than just attending classes. The activities you get involved in at college are the things that will define your college career. But how do you manage clubs and classes without being overwhelmed?

As a high school senior, I was extremely involved, I naturally wanted to find an institution that would also allow me to be an involved individual. On my visit to Lycoming, I was thrilled to see the number of clubs there were to participate in. With such a wide variety of organizations like the Japanese Culture Club, Raging Stitches, and Student Government, my new problem was not trying to find things to get involved in, but choosing what not to be involved in. Since then, I have been a part of numerous organizations trying to find the best fit for myself. This past year, I was a member of Lycoming’s cheer team, the Vice President of Student Government, the Vice President of my national sorority (Alpha Xi Delta), and eventually the student Social Media Ambassador for the College. How did I manage being a student athlete, running Lycoming’s Student Government, being active within my sorority, and maintaining an on-campus job, all while keeping my grades up? Well, it was not always easy. It took me a few rough experiences to learn how to balance it all. However, I think I have cracked the code on juggling the full college experience. 

Involve Yourself in Things Relevant to You:

Clubs and organizations are an amazing outlet for you to continue participating in things you love that might not be relevant to your major; however, it is also smart to try to be involved in things that can help you build a résumé. For example, I have been cheering since I was seven years old, and although cheer has nothing to do with a future job, it’s a great physical outlet for me. On the other hand, my dream job is social media marketing, so my campus job makes for a great résumé builder. It is all about a balance between fun activities and organizations that can help prepare you for your future. 

Keep a Planner:

My biggest tip to juggling a busy schedule is to keep a planner. You might need to try a few different planners until you find the one that works for you. My planner is my lifeline. Using your planner to keep track of meeting times and assignments is a great way to make sure things do not fall through the cracks. The biggest thing I look for in a planner is space to write to-do lists. Making lists and staying organized will put you on an academic track for success. 

Learn to Say No:

Learning to say no was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. During my freshman year, I was asked to join so many different clubs, which seemed great. However, I quickly learned that the more I took on, the more my work suffered. It was tough to learn to tell people no when they asked me to run for an officer position or join their club. And even though it was extremely difficult to tell my friends no when they asked me to go do things, social events sometimes have to take a back seat so you can focus on homework. Telling people no is something I am still working on today. While the number of things that I am involved in has gone down, I am much more active in my few activities, because I can give them the time and attention they require. Learning to say no is one of the most important lessons you’ll learn.

At the end of the day, it’s really about putting yourself and your education first. Managing a full schedule in college is difficult, but with good time management, organizational skills, and self-awareness, you can be successful in all that you do!

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Lycoming College is a private, residential, four-year liberal arts and sciences college in Williamsport, PA, that inspires students to think deeply and act boldly through an innovative, high-impact learning and high-reward career-advising approach. With a close-knit student population of approximately 1200, Lycoming facilitates engaging classroom discussions and hands-on experiences, giving students the individual attention they need to pursue careers of significance and lives of meaning.

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