We here at The Observer have some advice for first-year students. Between the Student Activities Fair and elections for a whole slew of campus organizations, it is tempting to get involved in a lot of activities on campus. But joining a large amount of organizations your first semester is a recipe for disaster.
Obviously, you should check out a lot of clubs to see what you like, but it is imperative to narrow that list down to a couple that you can really commit to. This isn’t advice against exploring options, but a reminder that, as we will be doing for the rest of our lives as adults, you have to pick and choose what you have time for. There isn’t really a way to “have it all” without losing your mind.
Joining a ton of clubs on top of your normal class load doesn’t give you time to unwind. While you might have time to finish all of your homework and attend all the meetings you promised to go to, that doesn’t mean you should. Taking time to blow off steam and relax is vital to your mental health and wellbeing. Not giving yourself that time puts you at a higher risk of burnout. Giving yourself that time to relax also helps you enjoy your activities more because they won’t feel so much like chores.
And a quick tip: If you are overwhelmed and just need someone confidential to talk to or someone to give you suggestions on ways to relax, counseling services are available. You don’t have to have a diagnosed condition to go to counseling services. No one will judge you for taking care of yourself. Those services are here to help students be better holistically. Also, they’re free.
As you zigzag around your schedule, just remember that it’s okay to stumble a bit your first semester here. No one ever said striking any sort of school/work/social life balance was easy. The point of college is that you figure out that balance before you go into the real world. You have four years ahead of you to work on it, so let yourself fall once or twice. Just remember to get back up again.
As a first-year, take advantage of your free chance to mess everything up and try every last thing you could ever want, but in the end know that it is okay to say no to attending your friend’s club meeting or going to go to that extra SI session, even if just to sleep. All in all, we here at The Observer encourage you to learn when to say no and when to say yes. College is meant to be fun. You don’t have to have a perfect start.