Self-awareness: don’t overcommit yourself

Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Managing Editor

Berry College offers more than 75 student organizations and clubs, 21 different varsity sports, more than 45 different majors (not including concentrations), 40 different minors, almost 20 active scholarship programs, and not to mention hundreds of volunteer opportunities, events and activities going around on campus every year. In summation, there’s a lot of opportunities for involvement.

With seemingly limitless opportunities, it may be easier to just draw a few out of a hat and start there. You may choose a few, drop a few others, but as time goes on, more opportunities will arise that seem too valuable to say no to. Plus, balancing a great job and participating in two interest groups on top of 6 rigorous classes provides great bragging rights and explanations for the bags under your eyes and endless coffee supply. Berry students set high standards of work-life balance and involvement, which is a great source of motivation.

But, how do you know your limit? While many Berry students try, unfortunately, sometimes you can’t do it all. Choosing what fits into your calendar may not always be what fits into your mental capacity of balance and sanity. Knowing when to say no is a lot harder than it seems, unlike how D.A.R.E. programs make it out to be. However, keeping a pulse on your emotional state, and tracking the time you spend on each aspect of your life may increase your efficiency and quality of work.

My freshman year, I was involved with a full-time sport, hosting potential students, writing for the Carrier, participating in two clubs on top of 16 hours. I was exhausted. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of a busy schedule, I didn’t realize how burnt out I was until a concerned friend approached me about my well-being. While I was managing everything on the outside, I hadn’t kept a pulse on how my over-involvement wasn’t affecting me mentally. After taking a step back and reprioritizing, I focused on the few aspects of life that made me happy, and ended up performing better in school, work and felt better in socially and emotionally because of it. It wasn’t until I looked inward that I realized the many things I was missing out on, even though I was involved in so much on paper.

This is not to say that my freshman schedule is not feasible for others; everyone has their threshold of work that is healthy for them. This is also not to say that you should turn down opportunities as they are presented to you. Take advantage of the many areas of involvement at Berry, but make sure to maintain a relationship with yourself and your emotions. Keep track of how you are feeling, what your areas of stress are and if you feel fulfilled. Moments of monotonous work and stressful tasks are necessary and inevitable. Resume boosters and tough classes are sometimes just a part of undergraduate life. But approach each with an open, yet in-tune mind to your emotional well-being.

Luckily, Berry faculty, staff, student leaders and other members are very understanding of schedules and the life of a Berry student, but only if communication is at the forefront of your relationship. If you find yourself overwhelmed, or even with the potential to be overwhelmed, let your work and academic mentors know, so you can work out a plan accordingly. However, this communication begins internally, as you should have an ongoing conversation with yourself to recognize if you are overwhelmed and why.

Additionally, make time for a moment of relief in your day. Whether that is a fun interest group, a new Netflix show or sand volleyball, spending time doing something you enjoy can gravely alleviate the stress of other necessary evils. But remember, the good and the bad are not in the same box; your good times do not “outweigh” your bad times (or vice versa), but rather live separately for different purposes.

We often forget to keep tabs on our own minds as we attempt balance our schedules on our Google calendar. Self-awareness is key to a successful work-like-social-school balance at Berry. If you are feeling pressure to succeed, remember that success doesn’t come from quantity of activities, but the quality of your involvement.

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