Are you doing too much? Joining student organizations.

College is an exciting time where many students learn new skills and develop relationships. There is so much to learn, and so much to do! When there are many clubs you want to join but a finite number of hours in your day, how do you know when it’s too much?

There’s really no set number on how many hours a week you spend on a club. It really depends on your role and your course load. But there’s a clear feeling that should set alarms in your head that you should resign from your extracurricular activities – the unpleasant mixture of anxiety, panic, and dread.

I’ve seen a good handful of well-meaning students who are in a course-intensive major, have a part time job or internship, and on top of that are part of leadership teams in clubs. Of course, there are students who can handle this and manage to fulfill all duties (I suspect they’re skimping out on someone else, though). And then there are the students who consider “handling” to mean “scraping by.”

If you are content with your weekly schedule right now, and it allows you time to take care of unexpected events and relaxing, I strongly recommend you to just keep it at that! If you are already busy, don’t commit to more activities! The harsh reality is that not being able to keep up with commitments (especially in exam seasons) means you’re disappointing professors, your peer club leaders, and yourself.

There are also many situations of student organization involvement causing stress on the student. Look out for your mental health! Life happens, and there can be very stressful times. If you need help, assess your situation and tell someone how they can help you to ease the burden.

Personally I understand the strong urge to get involved on campus. It’s an exciting way to get creative and feel productive with peers, something most traditional students don’t experience in high school. However, I can’t stress enough the number of times a student leader or group project partner has missed class or club meetings due to their other obligations (I’ve literally almost ended up being the only one at a meeting). Undoubtedly one could argue that, it is their tuition, their time, and they can choose how they will spend college. This is true, but if you are considering graduate school or relying on your network for career advice or opportunities, reputation is important!

Remember that balance is everything, and take care to maintain positive relationships with your peers. Lastly, clubs are no reason to quit your job, lose sleep, or slip grades!

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