As I prepare for post-undergraduate life and studies, I have been spending a considerable amount of time on my resume. This means discussing resumes with friends, which has proven enlightening — it’s allowed me to address potential weaknesses in my resume and highlight key strengths. But in the course of these conversations, I’ve begun to realize how deeply involved with the University people are here.
Now I don’t mean to put down the huge portion of this campus who are simultaneously a part of SA, the Campus Times, Mock Trial, UR Grassroots, and Model UN. There are quite a few people who manage this copious workload with a grace that I don’t achieve in my wildest dreams. I’m sure this multi-tasking will prove beneficial for them in the long run — and even if it doesn’t, it’s still an impressive feat.
Full confession: I lived that life in high school and was fortunate enough to never experience burnout. In fact, I loved that I could overcommit and still accomplish it all. It was a point of personal pride and I suspect it helped me obtain a spot in this University. I also suspect there are those who take a masochistic pride, like I used to, in their ability to just grind through.
But this level of commitment to activities outside of the strictly academic sphere is simply not what I came to college to do.
Stop telling me I’m under-involved, simply because you have taken on frankly Herculean quantities of extracurriculars (extra being the operative word). There are people on this campus, strange as it may sound, that came here to take classes and, stranger, live their lives.
There are those who argue their life is defined by those extracurriculars, and I would readily agree, while countering that they likely have not experienced the other side. This intense involvement is good, but it becomes all-consuming quicker than people care to admit.
College is about two things: academics and living your life. If you’re too busy to cut back and take a night off, you don’t get to see who you are on your own. If every night is a series of Greek life meetings, varsity practices, or club meetings, you don’t have time to, say, randomly go enjoy Rochester. You don’t have the time for a spontaneous car ride with a friend, blasting music and screaming lyrics with reckless abandon.
This is not a prescriptive example, but an illustration of the freedom that should define college.
My side of the aisle also means full nights of sleep, on any given night. It means time for a homemade breakfast and dinner (lunch is optional anyways). I still have time to do paid research and any odd jobs that may come my way — like dog-sitting, yardwork, or helping out a friend out. As a result of this scheduled freedom, I work more, and can take trips as my courses allow. I would take those experiences over a do-nothing meeting in Douglass any day, even if I can’t put most of how I spend my time on my resume.
I can appreciate that most people reading this are not going to immediately ditch extracurricular activities, but let’s stop asserting that those of us who choose to live a more carefree existence have it wrong. Neither group is wrong, they’ve simply made a choice.
“To each their own” is cliched, but for good reason. No one is smarter or better because they are more involved. People are who they are — I will unequivocally assert that no one at UR is or should be defined by their exogenous extracurricular responsibilities.