This one goes out to all my fellow high school overachievers! I see you, doing all the extra credit and joining another club even though you’re already the President of three. I get it. In high school I was honestly a member of ten or so different clubs. Why did I do it? Data inconclusive. I will say that I was genuinely interested in all of my high school extracurriculars. But to be totally honest, my recollection of my time in most of them is vague.
Accurate representation of me in high school, tbh.
I came to NYU assuming my experience would be similar. I went to Club Fest my first week, walked down the rows and rows of different clubs and organizations, and put my name on approximately one million mailing lists (which I still get emails from btw, I’m too lazy to unsubscribe). I went to a bunch of meetings my first few weeks, met so many amazing people, and guess what?
I joined one club at NYU. Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE) is a mentoring organization for middle schools girls which is all about youth advocacy and female empowerment, two topics I am extremely passionate about.
The thing about college is that, for many people, you suddenly have a bunch of free time. You’re not going to class all-day everyday anymore! What I then had to grapple with was the feeling of inadequacy that would take over me during that downtime. Whenever I thought about my high school self, I felt as though I wasn’t performing to my full potential. For me, the pressure to Do the Most™ was entirely in my own head: nobody was going to be disappointed in me if I wasn’t busy all the time.
Even though I’ve been at NYU for four amazing years, every so often I still have to validate myself:
- It’s okay to have free time.
- It’s okay to not be busy 100% of the time.
- Your time is valuable to yourself and others.
- You are still smart/worth it, even if you aren’t doing two internships/president of multiple clubs/etc.
Thank you, candy heart.
For me, overextending myself was not satisfying. I’d rather put my whole self into what I’m most passionate about and have maximum focused impact and experience, than minimum effort and participation in lots of activities. In my time in WYSE, I’ve worked my way up into several different positions on the Director’s team and seen the organization through multiple major changes. WYSE recently won the NYU President’s Service Award for our commitment to civic engagement and service in our community. I’m going to get to accept the award from President Hamilton alongside some of my closest friends, being so, so proud of my contribution. By focusing all of my extracurricular energy into one group, I’ve had some of the most memorable experiences and most fulfilling friendships that I’ve had in my entire life.