At Duke, I’m Communications Coordinator for House Council (dorm student government). I’m in Cru Campus Ministry. I’m in a sorority. I write this blog. I run half marathons. I’m a tour guide. And I’m in 4 really hard classes.
And most weeks I have no idea how I’ll get my laundry done or when I’ll call my parents.
In high school, I was involved in everything I was decently (and by decently I mean barely) qualified to do.
So when I got to Duke I panicked, because if I was to be involved in everything I was decently qualified to do, then I wouldn’t have time to breath. Luckily, most of the things I was decently qualified to do rejected me. (Because decently qualified in high school means in no way, shape or form qualified at Duke. That’s a compliment to the people here; everyone is insanely talented).
But I keep hearing about students on campus that do everything. They’re in seven different clubs, have a huge social life, play club sports, and also make unbelievably good grades.
And I feel very out of my league. In fact, I feel a bit jealous. I want to be good at everything, do everything, and say I do everything! I want to be successful and involved and a leader!
But I’ve finally learned something crucial. And it took until now for me to figure this out, so don’t make my same mistake.
I can’t do everything.
Wait, let me just say that one more time.
I can’t do everything.
Something has to give.
First semester, my B- class is what gave. This semester, what is currently giving is my laundry. And potentially my exam this week. (PubPol 155 anyone?)
And, overall, what gives is that I can’t possibly be in every club that looks, or should be, appealing.
And I am finally okay with that.
I’m not ashamed to say that I’m only involved in a few things on campus. I’m not ashamed to say that even with so few activities, I can’t find time for the little things, like cleaning my room or straightening my hair.
What would this campus, and our world, be like if we were all a bit more content with what we are, and are not, doing?
I hear countless freshmen telling me that they need to get more involved, that they need to join this group or that group, that they need to spend less time doing this and more time doing that, that and that.
Why do you need to be more involved? To fill up more spaces on your resume? To tell people you’re involved in a lot? Is it worth it to tell someone you’re involved in eighteen things if every night you have breakdowns, question your purpose and can’t find time for five minutes to relax?
For me, it’s not. It’s not worth it to be in two clubs on the same night if it costs me gaining weight because I eat unhealthy running from the first club to the second.
For me, it’s not worth it to be busy every weekend playing tournaments if it costs me missing student performances on campus, random sorority nights and chill nights in the Giles common room.
But that’s just me. And I’m finally okay with the fact that that doesn’t have to be everyone. But for me, I can’t be involved in everything because I can barely find time for the little things as it is.
I finally value relationships, my schoolwork, and following my passions more than I value being busy doing tons of things.
What do you value? And do you have time for the little things?
I can’t say for everyone, but I know I wouldn’t even bat an eye if you told me you were “only” involved in one or two things on campus. So what? If that’s what you can do, then that’s what you can do. Any contribution is a contribution, and there’s a difference between a contribution and an unhealthy sacrifice. Be content with what you can offer. And know that you can offer more than just involvement. You can offer your wisdom, your smile, your hug to a friend in need.
One day, I hope we’ll be just as amazed by the people that are able to spend so much time being a good friend as we are amazed by the people that are involved in 25 clubs.