On Wednesdays during the fall semester of my senior year of college, I would intern until 5 p.m., go to a night class until 9 p.m. and then do homework until 12 a.m. The other days of the week, I was either interning or in class. On the weekends, I worked part time at a department store.
I needed an internship for experience and to graduate. I needed to go to class to graduate. I needed a part-time job to pay to graduate. Plus, I had to do all of this while maintaining relationships my family and friends.
I remember scrolling through Twitter one night, seeing this graphic and thinking, “YES! This is exactly how I feel!”
By October, I was stressed out, burnt out and cranky. When I would be at work or with my loved ones, I would be thinking about homework or my internship. I realized that I wasn’t acting like myself, and I needed to make a change for the sake of my happiness.
I decided to start working less at the department store. Immediately, I felt a change in my mood. I spent more time on my homework and was more focused at my internship. Most importantly, I had some time for myself.
As you plan to head to your school’s student involvement fair, honestly think if you can commit to joining an organization. Write out your existing commitments beforehand so that you can visualize how full your schedule already is.
Once you get to the involvement fair, don’t go wild with the signups. While yoga club, dance marathon, Quidditch team, intramural soccer, student government and Zeta Alpha Zeta sound super fun, it may be difficult to balance all those activities at once. Try to limit signing up to a select number of organizations you’re really interested in. It’s more beneficial to fully dedicate yourself to a couple of obligations than to partially commit to many things.
It’s definitely a good idea to participate in résumé-building activities like internships, clubs and volunteering, but you can easily spread yourself too thin. It’s OK to say “no” every once in a while, and if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, it’s OK to make adjustments to your schedule. You don’t want to end up stressed out, burnt out and cranky.