Balance, Career, Classes, Connections, General, Get involved, Groups & Clubs, People, Student Life, Study, Work

In which I find myself a little overwhelmed by extracurriculars

ALT="University College's red couches in the JCR"

Look at how comfy those red couches in the University College Junior Common Room look… Photo courtesy of the University College Literary and Athletic Society

I’ll be honest: initially, my blog post this week was going to be on my favourite places to nap on campus. With the first week done, I’ve already found myself drowsy at 2PM and in need of comfy couches, admirable armchairs, or soft sofas. But while I was sprawling myself out on one of the luxurious red couches in the University College Junior Common Room (preparing myself to write the blogpost), instead of thinking about reaching a level of Zen to start snoozing away, I began thinking of my school-extracurricular balance and how nervous I was about it. I was thinking about the wave of events and commitments and academic craziness smothering me for the school year, and suddenly, I couldn’t fall asleep.

Definitely not nap inducing.

To give you all a little context into my panic mode, I’m going into my third year studying a double major in Political Science, Cinema Studies and a minor in History. I’m an elected student representative on the University College Literary and Athletic Society (aka the “Lit”). I’m on various commissions within the college and work to grow the college community. I’m the editor-in-chief of the UC Review, a literary publication of artwork by students for students. I’m taking six courses a semester this year. And, well, I also share my experiences with you all once a week through blog posts or through our Instagram (which I curate). Additionally, I’ve made it my goal to rank the food trucks of St-George, though that one isn’t too bad because it requires eating, and I love eating.

ALT="A photo of myself grimacing"

Me when I think about all the free time I won’t have this year

My point is: I am going to be extremely busy. I still find it amazing how I went from being involved in virtually nothing in first year to suddenly having almost every hour booked in third year just in the second week of class. So while many of you are probably rolling your eyes at the predicament I’ve put myself in or, at the very least, shaking your head, I oddly don’t regret taking on so much (except maybe the academic part, I might have to change that). I should be running around with my head cut off, screaming at the top of my lungs, but I’m not.

Underneath all the nerves I had on that couch, I am both incredibly grateful I have the opportunity to work in the things I’m passionate about, and excited about how much I will grow as an individual at the end of it. I have been to enough mandatory networking events and social mingling parties to understand, from people much older than I, that life after university will be crazy; it will be filled with unpredictable circumstances and even more unpredictable paths. I might decide that after I finish this degree I actually want to be a neuroscientist (though this is very, very unlikely). But learning to adapt and time-manage when the going gets bumpy is something I know I will be teaching myself this school year.

ALT="A photo of a clipping from an article saying how life will be hard"

Even Stats Canada says that life will be crazy!

The other day, a freshman admitted to me that he was unsure about doing an extracurricular because he wasn’t sure how to juggle both it and academics. And while I’m starting to figure out how to balance it and make sure I stay healthy, too, there is nothing more that I recommend at U of T than getting involved outside the classroom. Through the people I’ve met, the family I’ve made, or the unconventional lessons I’ve learnt, I see myself slowly becoming the person I want to be. Even if you’re not sure you can manage it, try it out and ask for support from your friends, family, or resources on campus (that I’ll be sure to be using and blogging about during the year).

ALT="Me writing a letter to myself"

A friend took this photo of me during the summer when I was writing a letter to myself reflecting on the upcoming school year.

I challenge you to join something new this year and step outside your comfort zone a little within something you love. I promise you; that first nervous, unsure leap you make will be worth it.

And, well, at least you’ll earn those naps!

ALT="A photo of me sleeping"

This is pretty much how you will find me around campus

-A.H.