The College Balance: On Taking off More than You Can Chew

by Molly Robinson

With over 300 clubs to choose from, lots of cool people to hang out with, and tons of interesting majors and minors to pour yourself into, how do you narrow down what is manageable for you too do well? As a senior at JMU, I can tell you that I’m still figuring it out, but getting closer to what I believe to be a good balance. Below are some guidelines I’ve come up with to help maintain a good balance between succeeding in academics and enjoying extracurriculars in college.

Academics come first. There will always be something you are “missing out on” while studying. Who cares? You will feel better relaxing after your test knowing that you put your all in and did your best.

Pick a major you like. If you are choosing a major for the possible monetary gain in a future career and have no interest in the subject topic, you will hate every class and struggle to have any motivation.

Devote yourself to a few organizations and get really involved. There may be tons of clubs you are interested in; that’s great. In reality, though, you will find it more fulfilling to devote yourself to a couple clubs then to spread yourself thin between five. When you are really involved with a couple clubs, you have more time to give to what you care about with the organization, and you’ll have a better chance at developing meaningful friendships with people who have similar interests to you.

“Rate my professor” is your friend. A professor can make or break your experience in a class, especially if the class is for a general education requirement. Do your research, and make sure you get professor that wants you to do well. *This is more important than getting all Tuesday and Thursday classes.

Challenge yourself, but be reasonable. For the love of Pete, drop a class if you are failing. It’s hard to learn a whole subject area in three months time, and if you are struggling, save your GPA and not your pride. Choose course loads that will allow you to do well; you know yourself better than anyone else does.

Stick with the people who really care about you. College is four years long. Make an effort to find genuine friends who will support you, regardless of what obstacle you come upon. There will always be a large quantity of fun people around, but those aren’t necessarily the friends who will have your back when times get rough—and at some point, times will get rough.

Enjoy. Take it all in. Do the most you can with these years and take opportunity you can to do new things.

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