Great question!! Being socially conscious and governmentally knowledgeable adds greatly to your academic acuity. So you should definitely be involved in things on campus but maintain your priorities. Remember that you cant attend every event. Sometimes, studying should take precedence. If you miss a meeting or event, someone will keep you posted. Read the newsletters and bulletin boards around campus. A lot of information can be found there that can keep you up to date on whats going on. Finally, PLAN wisely. If an event is coming up that you want to attend, study early so that you can. Reward yourself with social events when you have completed tasks that must me completed. KNOWING that you have to keep your grades up, is half the battle.
Alice Foster McCallum
Alice Foster’s Answer
That’s a valid concern, Kaitlyn, and the fact that you are addressing it from the get-go leads me to believe that you are going to be just fine! It’s all about time management, but don’t let the challenge discourage you from becoming involved. Extensive academic research, supported by the National Survey of Student Engagement, confirms that students who are engaged on their campuses generally have higher GPAs and report being happier with their college experience. Co-curricular experiences can also be great foundations for your professional work. My experience chairing my sorority’s recruitment and organizing one of the biggest fundraisers on my campus helped me land a job that I loved after graduating producing fundraising events in nonprofit. I would recommend that you get involved early because co-curricular activities can be a great way to meet people, but take it a step at a time. Join one or two well-selected activities that you are excited about right away when you arrive on campus, but stick to just those for a little while until you are settled in and know what else you may be able to add in and still have ample time for your coursework.
Alice Foster recommends the following next steps:
Kenya L.’s Answer
Hi Kaitlyn- Awesome Question!
Having student- social life balance is important, and very much needed. Sometimes it helps to get creative when thinking of the best ways to accomplish this task. In the past I’ve asked students to create a playbook for their goals i.e.. Kaitlyn's Action Plan Playbook (feel free to steal the name : ). It’s a fun way to ensure you’re having fun, but handling what is important as well.
Creating your Playbook: Take it one year at a time.
Develop a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Base) Goal Plan. Take some time and think about the things you would like to accomplish from an educational and social perspective. Typically it is suggested you start with 3-5 goals, and your goals should be very specific. Your educational goal could go something like this, maintain an overall 3.5 GPA each semester to ensure I have met my educational scholarship requirement(s) While your Social Life goal could read like this; Research and join one campus organization by end of second semester to establish a network base and participate in community engagement activities. In writing your goals, ask yourself "Why”, meaning why is this important. This helps to ensure your goals are important and impactful to you, and it gives you a clear path forward.
Now you ready to move forward in organizing the goals Congratulations Goals You've made the team!
Prioritize and Organize. This area is the meat and potatoes of your playbook. Your blueprint to show how you are going to accomplish your goals, and here's a secret that has already been shared with you - TIMING IS EVERYTHING! Sit down with each goal, determine where it falls on your “Most Valuable Goal” list. Next, determine what all is required to help you succeed. Will I need to implement a study plan - requires 4 hrs. of studying? Do I need to bring a specialty team in i.e. professors, tutors, etc. to help me get here? This might require you to invest in tools i.e. planners, organizers, study job aids, etc., but having this blueprint will provide you with a clear line of sight. Afterwards, you are ready to execute.
Execute, Monitor, and Measure. This is the most important part of your playbook. Once you have put all your plays into actions you will need to monitor your performance. This needs to be done daily to identify if changes are needed. Here is where you will also be able to determine if you are staying balanced. Do you seem to be off or behind? Make changes accordingly, but try not to make too many, instead identify if you need to adjust how you’re spending your time in other areas. In the end you will be able to measure your balance on how well you are staying on track or by the number of goals you have completed.
Once you have succeed with one playbook, next you will be able to determine if you can increase your goals, and in what area based on your playbook's performance. - I’m giving you kudos and congratulating you ahead of time, because I know you’re going to be a WINNER!
Huddle Time Side Bar: If at any time you are not getting enough rest and eating properly you must adjust. Staying healthy is an automatic must in everyone’s playbook. 😊
This is an excellent question! And it's fantastic that you are interested in both maintaining your grades and being involved simultaneously. In my opinion grades should always be regarded as the first priority. After that, start small with your on campus/off campus involvement, and select opportunities that are truly important to you so you are more likely to stay engaged. After that, it's really all about time management and planning ahead. Make sure that if you have extracurricular events coming up that you are able to schedule time for your school work that doesn't conflict. Once you're comfortable with your schedule and work load you can begin adding on additional volunteer work/extracurriculars. Best of luck!