Most of the students go to school full time and they are very busy with classes, homework assignments, projects etc. As an international students in US Schools it is even harder because you are in a different country, trying to balance student life, work (may be on camps jobs), finances, missing friends and family from home country, etc… The point is it is very challenging and full time students are under constant stress trying to balance everything. In this article I will try to share few of my thoughts on how you can balance everything. If you have not, I recommend you to read these articles before you proceed to understand the context :
- What are Student Organizations in US Universities ?
- 8 reasons why should you join Student Organizations
Do NOT overkill yourself by promising too many :
As I mentioned in previous articles listed above, you have to be very careful with the number of student organizations you join. Too many can be a burden. One of the challenges I had as a student was, I joined way too many student organizations and got burnt out. You do not have time for anything else. Just imagine you are in 5 organizations and each of them meet once a week, your life is just around student organizations then…what about classes ? Anyways, the point is do not be tempted, just pick a couple or three that you are really passionate about and then spend time with them. Just think of a wise saying by someone, “Too much of anything is good for nothing…”
How to plan your Class life and Student orgs Responsibilities ?
As a student your primary goal is education, your next goal is to get the student experience. In my opinion, both are very important. You cannot really neglect. The only leadership experience that you can show at your first job interview is your activities like student org stuff. To do these two well, you have to carefully plan. The way I do it is, I look at my class schedule and see what nights are free or what times in a week I do not have classes. Then I try to see what organizations have weekly meetings during those times and then pick my best choice ones. The point is, you do not want to miss class for student organization. If not in a semester, you can join that student organization in next semester. You get a feel of the timings once you are out of your first semester. Anyways, plan your student orgs out of class time.
If you are on the executive board of a student organization, You need to talk to the president or your seniors who were in that org, to tell you the exact time commitment for the organization. If you do not know the time commitment, you can get sucked in when your mid terms or finals are in progress and you have an event planned for the organization. It can be a lot of stress. Once you have the time commitment figure out, then look at your classes load and see how much time you need for classes to do homework, etc in a week. Then allocate the free time for the student organizations. Time is a commodity and you have to do proper allocation of your time.
Sample high level Plan for Student Orgs and Studies
|Total Free time in Week after attending classes|
|Homework & Study time for 4 classes||28 hrs|
|Free time for Student Orgs||7 hrs|
It is up to you to decide how you want to use the 7 hrs for student organizations. Either one or two or more. You should plan well. If you do not plan well, you run out of time and then sacrifice quality and stress yourself. Planning is the key to balance everything !
Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dthai/3800432489/