Ask Hahney: Finding Your Space

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Q: There are so many things that I could do on campus, but I don’t know where to start! How did you begin exploring your interests? Also, how do I tell if I am spreading myself too thin with all of my activities?

Fun fact: USC has over 800 recognized student organizations. EIGHT. HUNDRED. That’s a whole lot and it can definitely be overwhelming. But… that number also means there’s definitely an organization and space for you. So, start looking! A great place to start is on the Campus Activities website. You can use this link to search and find organizations you may want to join!

Now, in terms of exploring your interests and trying different organizations… keep the process simple! Go to a general meeting, talk to a member of the organization, and decide if you want to return. Whether you’re new to campus or just looking for something else to be a part of… going once (or twice or many times) will never hurt! From my experiences, everyone is always so nice and they aren’t offended if you don’t come back. Also, when you find something you might really like– I encourage you to stick with it! Be engaged, go to meetings, join their executive boards in the coming semesters, and try to actively learn as much as you can.

Lastly, in terms of “spreading yourself too thin,” I think time management is a skill that ironically… comes with time. As a freshman, I tried so many different activities and I don’t regret a minute of it. I learned so much and I got to meet so many people on this campus. But, I also wasn’t taking very difficult courses. As I become a leader within organizations (which I’m sure you’ll do too), it was important for me to take note of my responsibilities and what I was capable of. Classes got more challenging in the following years and understanding my role as a student and how that affected my role as a campus leader was incredibly important. Everyone at USC is hyper-ambitious (honestly, look at the number of organizations on this campus) and that’s great. But, we all have different limits and taking care of ourselves should be our number 1 priority. So, when you’re deciding on leadership roles and/or the number of activities you want on your plate, I urge you to think of how many hours are required of you. Then, think about how many hours of school work you might have. If you’re doing over X amount of hours (whatever you deem acceptable) of work, that might be too much. So know your limits and own up to them. It makes you a better person and a less stressed individual!

So…a lot was said but overall lesson of the story: get involved, stay involved (within a healthy range), and take care of yourself!

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