At the University of Delaware, you can’t go a day without being somehow encouraged to take part in a fundraiser, join a club, or apply for some position. UD is a mecca for student organizations, from residence life to Greek life, from honors societies to registered student organizations (RSOs), from community service to student government to cultural clubs to campus publications. They are opportunities to explore interests, meet people, and get plugged in on campus, and they are everywhere.
When I first set foot on campus I was absolutely exhilarated by this. My first student activities night consisted of me bounding from booth to booth and putting my name down for anything that sparked my interest- even the slightest bit. Brazilian jiu-jitsu? I’m there. UD Scuba? Sign me up. Every event I got emailed about got penciled into my calendar. Every flyer I got handed was secured to my refrigerator with a magnet. I wanted to try it all. You don’t want to pass up opportunities, right? And who says I don’t have a knack for swing dancing?
Unfortunately, it soon became clear that this eccentric lifestyle could not last. Duties began falling through the cracks and my time spent sleeping began to dwindle. No matter how hard I tried, I simply could not do it all. I was forced to give some of these activities up, feeling a sense of defeat rather than relief. I felt that I was not making the most of my college experience.
As a college student, there’s a subtle, or perhaps not so subtle pressure to take advantage of every opportunity you encounter. At a campus full of go-getters and do-it-all-ers, “Get involved” could very well be the unofficial mantra. Each involvement opportunity is a chance to better understand and develop your skills and interests, expand your network, build up that oh-so-important resume, and make your mark on the University. If you pass on just one you feel like you’re missing a chance to fulfill your potential, and perhaps even eliminating career opportunities in the future. But while this “do everything” proposal is inspiring in theory, when 300+ opportunities are presented to you, it becomes clear that it simply isn’t realistic.
The more responsibilities you take on, the less you can devote to each one. Rather than pouring yourself into a select few roles and seeing them to their full potential, you begin to do just enough cover the bases. You find yourself fulfilling your tasks out of obligation, rather than out of passion for the task itself. In this way, you’re eliminating the element that inspired your initial participation. And most likely missing out on more sleep than is healthy.
It’s been said that, “it doesn’t matter how many things you do, but how well you do them.” It is better to carefully choose just a few activities you’re truly passionate about and really do them right, than to pointlessly overextend yourself. Being “involved” doesn’t mean dabbling in a bit in everything, but being genuinely invested in what you are a part of.
So yes, try new things. Definitely explore. Absolutely get involved. Just make sure when you do, it’s not because you feel pressured, but because you truly care.
~Victoria, Class of 2016