When I arrived back on campus this semester after winter break, I knew that I was going to be busy. I was serving on three different executive boards for three separate organizations in positions that I knew were time-eaters. ‘I’ll be fine,” I kept telling myself. “The busier I am the better I will do.”

Well, no offense to myself, but I was wrong.

When I arrived at UR during freshman orientation a little over a year ago, I was continuously told how much it would benefit my college experience to join groups and activities. It would keep me busy. It would keep me sane.

UR boasts that it has over 200 on campus organizations. There’s everything from Quidditch to Juggling. Community service projects to religious communities. Dance groups and Greek life. Student government. Publications. Debate.

Being one of the many driven students that attend UR, I immediately found myself invested in several groups. When the time came to take on bigger roles within each of these, including the Campus Times, I jumped at the chance. What could be more rewarding than taking on a leadership role in something that I have grown to love over the past year?

I would not change any decision I made in regards to the roles I took on campus over the past year. My involvement in each activity has made my college experience, thus far, all the better.

But as my evenings turned into all-nighters, and my normal bedtime became 3 a.m., I began to wonder if the groups were worth the stress, the setbacks in my classes and the obvious drop in my GPA.

I have friends who wake up at 6 a.m. for sports practice, go to class, clock in at work, run from chapter to meetings with professors and groups and virtually live in the library at every other waking moment just to fit everything into their schedules. I know students who have been presidents of several organizations at once. Hell, I work with some of the most devoted people on this campus in the office where I spend every Wednesday night helping prepare this paper until the break of dawn.

I’ve seen each of these people crack under the pressure when one thing pushes them over the edge. I don’t care what anyone says, but balancing a college career with a college social life is a delicate art. If you tip one way or the other even in the slightest, you’ll fall right off the balance beam into a vicious black hole of stress and unease.
And that is essentially what happened to me this past semester.

While my GPA may be a measurement of my success at school, I constantly find my priorities weighing in favor of my extracurricular activities rather than my classes. This, in turn, puts the pressure on because I lose focus on schoolwork and start doing poorly.

Then that stresses me out because I have to spend more time studying. And that just gets in the way of spending time doing the things I enjoy, so I blow it off and go back to spending hours doing things that will have little or no effect on me after college. And then the vicious cycle of anxiety and apprehension starts all over again.

So why put myself through this everyday? Why do we bother to overextend ourselves and spend hours each day worrying about planning that event or choreographing that dance?
Because these are the things that make up who we are. I wouldn’t be the same person I am without my writing, dancing or the friends I have made through my sorority.

Sure, my parents might mention that great professor they had in college once in a while, but the stories I hear most of the time revolve around my Dad picking the films that the Cinema Group would show each week or my Mom’s involvement in the Campus Activities Board.

While classes may be what your college career is recognized for, the things you do outside of class whether it is that time you fell down in the middle of the frat quad, or the moment you were elected student council president or performing a dance you choreographed on stage in front of all your friends that you’ll tell your kids about. Those are the things you will remember.

Yes, once in awhile the scales tip out of balance, I go a little bit crazy and make some sacrifices along the way. But without that stress and that craziness, college is just a bunch of classes, and those other groups and activities keep me trying to get the scales back in balance every day.

Rosenberg is a member of
the class of 2012.

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