Last semester, I had a bit of a difficult adjustment because I could not find a club I enjoyed being a part of — I only joined two during the involvement fair. I ended up quitting both of them by the end of first semester, and I felt completely idle and lost without a group of people I felt connected to. In high school, I ran cross country, swam on the swim team, volunteered at a law firm, sang in choir, performed in theatre and headed two clubs, so I was used to being overcommitted all the time and met so many people through my activities. When second semester rolled around, I submitted a plethora of applications to various new clubs, so I would never feel idle again. I ended up getting accepted to most things I applied to, and I quickly realized how unrealistic it was to keep up with everything I was committing myself to along with my studies. Of course, I am getting by, but it really hit me in the past few weeks when I realized I have not had nearly as much free time this semester. I like being busy, and I was used to it in high school. That being said, college has no structure as high school does, which can make it extremely difficult to keep up with everything. On a typical school day in high school, I would have choir during the school day, club meetings during my activities periods, and rehearsal or practice after school; then, I would get straight to my homework.
In college, classes could be any time of day during the week, and clubs may not necessarily line up with your schedule. On top of that, activities and classes both demand more of you in college than in high school. I have learned my lesson this semester that you really cannot do it all in college without sacrificing precious and scarce leisure time we have as full-time students. When deciding what activities to do, it is always good to remember that deeply committing yourself to one or two clubs or activities will be much better in the end than trying to be a part of four as I did this semester. Ultimately, I am glad I did try a lot of different things because it helped me make more friends and meet more people, but I know that I will have prioritize more efficiently in the future. So my advice to my fellow freshmen is to join what interests you, but do not do it unless you are absolutely positive that you want to fully dive into it. Time management is key because overextending yourself is always a bad idea, and I can say that from personal experience. Put yourself out there but remember to put your mental health first over being overwhelmed!
Vineet Chauhan is a freshman majoring in economics and English. His column, The Genuine Freshman, runs every week on Tuesday.