Dear Meghan: How do I balance academics and extracurricular activities?

Dear+Meghan

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Meghan Harmening | Opinion Editor

Do you need advice? Ask Meghan!!

As college students we know how difficult it is to balance academics and extracurricular activities. But, ‘which is more important?’ is often the question that comes back to haunt us all.

It is important to remember that as college students many of us are here for several purposes, with the main one being to earn a degree and to move on to our career of choice. Extracurricular activities are of course good and great things to be involved in. However, it is important to prioritize them or academics can fall by the wayside quickly.

I have found that it is not necessarily which organization you are involved with, but how you can relate it to the career or job you want to have. For example, if you are a science major, but are a co-editor for The Tack, you can relate it to science by having leadership and writing experience – both of which are needed in any career really – despite science and digital media not being directly related. Another example can include AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-site Learning) or other service projects; work that onto your resume! Employers want to hear about your experiences outside of the classroom as well. To be able to donate your time and resources to causes you’re passionate about and still get those stellar grades, that is impressive.

Don’t forget about academics though. Many academic activities can be relative to your career, you just have to be creative. Obviously your classes are related to your career, but employers look for more than just a certain major or minor. Group projects, leadership, decision making – these are all skills employers look for beyond the normal classes. Having specific classes picked out that can improve each of these skills can help you look even better to a future employer.

So, how to balance all of these activities? It is tough – it is almost its own science to figure it all out. My advice? Use your Outlook calendar, or even pencil your week out on a sheet of paper each week so you know what needs to be done and when you’ll have time to do it. By using a schedule, put in times for all of your required meetings and classes and the leftover times schedule and prioritize. I can’t say for sure whether your American Literature paper is more important than your policy proposal for Student Senate – that is up to you. But by scheduling time to complete tasks, you are less likely to procrastinate and more like to have time to finish all of the activities you want to – with time left to spare.

P.S. Don’t forget to schedule that nap in!

Graphic by Aaron Burns