When I was a junior in high school, our guidance counselors talked to the student body about the importance of getting involved. The more involved we were and the more leadership positions we held, the better our chances were to get into our dream college. I jumped at this and I’m confident my hard work is one of the reasons I got into Miami University. My first two years at our university were spent mostly going to class, meeting new people and going out on the weekends (and, let’s be honest, during the week, too). I was burned out from everything I had done in high school and just wanted to take it easy.
Second semester sophomore year things changed. I saw some of my business major friends’ resumes were filled with organizations on campus and summer internships at accounting firms and had a mild panic attack – I needed to get involved. I got a job at a restaurant uptown. It was so nice having extra spending money. The summer after, I got an e-mail from the journalism list serv about working in the athletic media relations department. I jumped at this chance. After all, it was almost my junior year, and I needed resume builders. One of my journalism professors recommended I start writing for The Student, so that fall I wrote weekly pieces for the sports section. I also joined Miami’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and became hospitality chair.
This was a nice balance. I had a job, a weekly story for The Student, had SPJ and my internship in media relations. But then my high school guidance counselor’s voice rang in my ears, “The more involved you are and the more leadership positions you have, the better your chances will be for getting your dream job.” I needed to act fast.
Second semester junior year I applied to be the sports editor for The Student and got the position. Before this I never really realized how much work goes into producing a newspaper but, let me tell you, it’s a lot. Enough work that if I quit all my other jobs and only worked at The Student, I would still be busy. I also took on the position of contest chair for SPJ. My obsession with getting involved continued.
At the beginning of this semester, I became a writer for MQ magazine. I became the sports editor for Recensio, our yearbook. I became sports director for Miami Television News. I became vice president of membership for SPJ. I joined a professional fraternity and will serve as the PR and recruitment chair for the next year. This is in addition to being the sports editor and working in athletic media relations. Sound exhausting? You have no idea.
I read an interesting piece on Middlebury College’s online opinions journal Debatable Magazine. The author Grace Duggan said “Students rush from one commitment to the next, study late into the night, try to let off steam on weekends and generally burn the candle at both ends.” I could not agree with this more. At a young age we’re pushed to get involved in things, and this mantra of getting involved sticks with many of us throughout college. It felt weird not being involved in anything my first two years of college – nice at times but weird. Now, like in high school, I’m running myself into the ground so I have a competitive resume and get a good job. But what is the payoff?
I’m exhausted on a daily and nightly basis. In addition to all my responsibilities, there’s also that little thing called class I have to go to. I’ve never skipped more classes than I have this semester so I could catch up on sleep or pick up the slack on projects. Though I’ve never failed to complete a project and it is very satisfying knowing I can juggle all of these responsibilities, is it worth it?
In the race to build the perfect resume, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have fun. I hardly go out anymore and when I do I never make it uptown because I’m just too tired. Because of all my commitments, I had to quit my job, meaning less spending money. Now all my money goes to pay my bills and when my friends want to do something fun I don’t have the time or money. My workaholic activities have put a strain on my friendships.
I know a lot of you are probably reading this and thinking, “Listen crazy girl, you got yourself into this mess, stop complaining,” and I completely agree. But it’s the way many of us were raised. We’re taught to work as hard as we can. Hard work usually pays off, but who’s to say my ridiculous obsession with getting involved will get me a better job than the next guy?
I guess the best piece of advice I have for you is this: get involved, you’ll meet great people and build your ever so important resume. But don’t forget you’re in college; don’t forget to have fun … or sleep. Having a good resume is necessary, but when you get to the point where things don’t fit on your resume, don’t feel the need to join more organizations. Remember to enjoy yourself. Like Tom Petty said, “The work never ends, but college does.”