As I am about to complete freshmen year, I cannot help but reflect on the things I have learned this past year. Surprisingly, 90% of this knowledge lies beyond the spectrum of academic learning. It is true that I did receive a good amount of bookish knowledge, but what really enlightened me were the things that I learned outside the classroom.

As an international student, I had only a vague idea about what my life on campus would be like. Unlike my home, there is no lack of opportunities here. In fact, there is something for everyone and still enough for more people to get involved. Going by this logic, it seems like there isn’t much competition on campus. Sadly, however, this is not true. Competition does exist, even amidst a plethora of opportunities.

When this is looked into more closely, I gather that the reason for this competition is that some people just want to do everything. We come across these types of people in our day-to-day lives: those who want to get involved in anything and everything. Hence, finding them on your college campus is nothing unusual. Conventionally known as “jacks of all trades,” these individuals are passionate about many things.

But, what really is important is whether we should promote such multitasking. Is it better to be good in one thing and pursue that one activity or cause that you genuinely care about, or should you delve into multiple interests to boost up your resume? The other half of the popular saying, “jack of all trades, master of none,” is very applicable to these overly ambitious college kids.

College is all about grabbing every opportunity that comes your way, and these individuals seem to have taken that philosophy a little too literally. But, then again, can you really blame these Macbeth wannabes for having such high hopes? There seems to be a direct correlation between your chances of getting a position in a club and the number of positions you already hold.This correlation is a positive one, with an increase in one leading to an increase in the other. Hence, if you already have a lot on your plate, it is more likely that you have more of a chance of getting a position than someone else. Does that mean the University is a promoter of the “jack of all trades, master of none” saying, or that it believes that specialization shouldn’t be the name of the game?

Of course, we can also call the University a propagator of greediness, as it encourages the student not to be happy with the one thing that he/she might be interested in by encouraging involvement in more than one activity. Giving one more when one already is suffering from the plague of abundance is something that goes against logic but is popular in college culture.

Then again, there are cases where we see a “jack of all trades” actually being a “master of all.” However, such cases are rare, mainly because one person cannot possibly do well in everything or is so overburdened with work that he or she gives an average or below-average performance in everything he or she does. But, what cannot be denied is that this trend of showering the affluent with opportunities and leaving the needy craving for some is very common and creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break.What is also important to keep in mind is that Macbeth did die at the end, despite being “Valour’s minion, Bellona’s bridegroom” and a million other things. Hence, I guess it’s just always safer to be Macduff and take on one thing at a time.

Poddar is a member of the class of 2018.

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