The scare of over-commitment

Meg Monacelli
Meg Monacelli

I can now officially check off the obligatory all-nighter from my college bucket list. I was researching and writing away my paper late into the night and next thing I knew, I looked at the clock and it was 7 a.m. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter, but sadly and unfortunately, the sleepless night was inevitable.

As you are probably well aware of and more experienced than you’d like to be, it’s really, really busy this time of year. Final papers and projects and tests are wrapping up as we head into finals. You might be finalizing summer plans and procrastinating homework as the warm weather becomes more inviting. You might be scrambling to find someone to take over that lease or dreading that huge chemistry final. Or, you might be sailing right on in to graduation, excited about what the next chapter in your life holds.

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Whatever the case may be for you, it seems everything is piling up for everyone. After my all-nighter, I was a heap of emotions and tears as I realized just how overcommitted I am. The more I navigate college life, the more I become hyper-aware of the different pressures each of us faces. There are pressures to pick the right major, get a job, get a career-focused internship, beef-up your resume, date the right person, not date, join clubs, get a decent GPA, but also have a social life…etc. You get the picture.

It’s easy to try and live up to all the expectations others have for you, and it’s something I’ve done for a while. I’ve also witnessed this trend in many of my classmates and peers as they get involved in many clubs and organizations. You just can’t turn an opportunity down, right?

I think there are good motives behind wanting to stay involved and do many things. It’s necessary and important to build your resume so that you stand out to employers when you apply for jobs. It’s also noble to want to make the most of every opportunity and better yourself. Many of the clubs, organizations and jobs on campus offer ways for you to grow and learn in areas outside academia, and this is crucial to making the most of your time here at CSU. And, I’ve found lifelong and valuable friendships in getting involved.

There are no doubt many benefits in seeking to fulfill all those pressures that bombard us young millennials, and all the hard work now will eventually (hopefully) pay off in the future.

However, I think there is a fine line between staying busy and being overcommitted. This may sound like a rather naïve or stupid conclusion, but it’s something that seems to be said more often than practiced. When you are overcommitted, much like I am this semester, you inevitably make sacrifices. For example, I don’t read and run as much as I used to or as much as I would like to because my schedule is too jam-packed. I’ve also let some friendships fall because of personal lack of time and energy to invest in them.

There are also health factors that play into scheduling your days so full that you have to squeeze in time to eat and shower. Stress can take a toll on your body and make you physically sick. Is it really worth it to have a squeaky clean resume if it comes at the cost of your health?

I’m not telling you not to get involved or not to try and beef-up that resume or put more effort into your academics. These are all well and good things to do while in college, and there are significant advantages in making the most of the opportunities presented before you. I’ve learned a difficult lesson in saying “yes” one too many times, though, and I’ve had to take a step back and reexamine my priorities and my time. There are only 24 hours in a day and there is only so much I can do.

What I’ve learned is that my jobs, involvement and the things I invest time into should align with my values. This maximizes my time so that I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. I’m not just going to another meeting to check it off my to-do list. I’ve also learned not to give up my personal time. I need that time to rest and do the things I love like readings, running and spending time with friends.

Over-commitment is something everyone is prone to falling into, and I think it’s important to realize the inevitable pitfalls before all-nighters become common occurrences.

Meg Monacelli wants everyone to think twice before committing to another activity. Feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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In Brief:

All-nighters are common in college, but maybe they shouldn’t be.

It’s all good and well to beef-up your resume, but make sure it isn’t costing you anything else.

There is no shame in taking some time for yourself.