Monday, September 23, 2013
How to know if you’re too involved in college clubs
In my book and speeches I'm often encouraging students to get involved in order to avoid “drive-thru” education. Why? Because getting involved in your college experience outside the classroom via clubs leads to scholarships, vital friendships, and resume-building experience.
However, there are some students who get too involved. Over the years I’ve met a few overachievers who try to do too much at the expense of their grades.
Here is a quick test to know if you’re too involved:
If you are involved in clubs...
1) Are you getting straight A’s?
2) Day to day do you feel generally stress-free?
If you answered “no” to either of the questions above then you might be too involved.
Getting involved should never get in the way of your grades. In many ways I think getting involved can improve your grades by increasing your engagement and interest in your overall college experience.
However, the second you notice you’re not investing the necessary time towards your classes it’s time to step down from your involvement and get your grades back on top before you get involved again.
You are capable of getting straight-A’s. It’s all about investing the time necessary and choosing classes that interest you. Over-involvement is never a good excuse for not giving your classes your 100%.
The good news is you don't have to be involved in a lot of clubs for extra-curricular involvement to pay off. It’s actually much more lucrative to be the president of one club then be a member in a few.
For example, when I was in community college I was the president of our Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
And that’s it.
Being involved in that one organization led to my winning the $110,000 Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.
At my transfer university I became an orientation leader for transfer students.
And that’s it.
Being involved in that one organization and working hard in class led to my being the commencement speaker and wining the $3,000 top award given to one senior at graduation.
In short, focus on quality over quantity.
And I’m not telling you this so you think I’m awesome (though, hey, that would be a cool side effect), but to let you know that this is possible for you too.
You have the capacity to be a leader and get amazing grades.
But if ever the grades are sliding because of the involvement, it’s time to resign and focus on your coursework until you’re back on top of it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, find a mentor in your student life office or seek out a professor during office hours to ask for advice on how you can better manage your time.
And don't be afraid to limit your involvement for a time if needed in order to improve your grades. Grades come first.
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