Reality check Find balance between schoolwork, extracurriculars

When I arrived at my first Quad Day three years ago, I immediately took note of the crowd. The vast crowd of what appeared to be thousands of carefree students, not yet daunted by the burdens of organic chemistry labs or analyzing Faulkner novels.

Next, I gaped at the number of student organizations the University has to offer. As I looked on at the line of tables that weaved through the Quad, I knew I would ultimately have to make a choice.

Do I sip cider under the autumn leaves with the October Lovers group? Do I boldly relive my brief (and embarrassing) stint as an “actress” in middle school? In truth, I wanted to do everything, and for a while, that’s exactly what I did.

Reality soon hit, however, and I was forced to find a balance between my extracurricular, academic and social lives. My experience has taught me that the following tips can help you enjoy your time at the University and maintain your sanity.

*Do what’s most important*

As a journalism major, my No. 1 priority coming to school was to get involved with campus media opportunities. Anyone who plans to pursue an industry where internships and networking can make or break your career should also find an Register Student Organization to fulfill these needs.

If a major-related group is number one on your list, make sure to find others that are also important to you. Getting involved is more that just networking for career purposes. It’s about forming friendship and dare I say it, enjoying life.

Whatever you have a passion for, you almost certainly will be able to find two or three organizations on campus.

*Get organized*

Getting involved in student clubs requires dedication and organization. With tests, papers and group projects sprinkled in with RSO fundraisers, lectures and socials, it becomes crucial to structure your days.

This not only enables you do you work effectively and efficiently, but it also prevents chaos and stress from mounting in to your life.

*Don’t overwhelm yourself*

At one point in my college career, I wrote for four different campus publications, participated in four more organizations that catered to other interests, and attended school at the same time.

Needless to say I found myself lacking sleep and energy (not to mention a social life).

I thought I needed to cram a bunch of activities to distinguish myself in the journalism industry and to meet new people.

It’s easy to become fixated on the idea that you have to compete with hundreds or even thousands of peers. I’ve found that it’s better to excel and enjoy two or three extracurricular groups than to take on a bunch of things that you can only dedicated a small percentage of your life to.

*Factor in “me” time*

By the time I reached the end of my sophomore year of school, I realized that I hadn’t read a book for fun in over a year. I hadn’t gone to a musical, or baked, or done any of the things that are such an important part of who I am.

I got so caught up in trying to connect with my fellow students that I completely left out the time I need to just be alone and regroup. We live in a time when everyone is constantly on the go, always plugged in to the web, that we never just sit back and enjoy the quiet.

Trust me when I say tuning out, even for just a little while, can do you a world of good.

_Candice is a senior in Media._