As the second week of the new school year comes to a close, I can say I've gotten a pretty comprehensive view of life at Geneseo: uphill walks to class, dorm bathrooms - complete with remnants of puke in the sink - and a fair share of typical college parties. Of course, more importantly, I've gotten a taste of the enriching educational experience Geneseo has to offer. To further enhance this educational experience, Geneseo has, and flamboyantly advertises, a wide array of clubs, organizations, sports and activities for students to get involved in.
Through e-mails, posters, meetings and professors, I have been presented with an overwhelming number of extracurricular activities to choose from. As the enthusiastic freshman that I am, I've been joining anything and everything that interests me, confident that I can pull off 17 credits and six clubs, not to mention (what I hope is) an active social life.
Then, I read the editorial in last week's edition of The Lamron. "Oh no!" I thought, "Older, wiser, more experienced students are offering words of caution against the very practices I have so eagerly committed myself to." So I began to ask myself, "Where on the spectrum does a healthy level of involvement fall? At what point do extracurricular activities cease to fulfill their purpose - to enrich one's educational experience - and begin to overwhelm and distract from the classroom experience?"
I think it's fairly obvious that a complete lack of participation in extracurricular activities makes room for a great deal of boredom. You've seen them before- the kids who lock themselves in the darkness of their room to play World of Warcraft or watch TV for hours on end, emerging into the daylight only to go to class or to eat.
Then, of course, there is the potential for students to reach the opposite extreme by creating a schedule so hectic that they become overwhelmed. I'm sure you've seen them before too - those with so many post-it note reminders sticking to their desk and wall that they could be mistaken for wallpaper, or those who are so rarely in their room that you begin to wonder if they even exist. This is a dangerous trap to fall into. In cases such as this, the individual may be too busy with clubs and activities to devote the proper amount of time and concentration to their schoolwork, or become too burdened by fulfilling both their "in" and "out" of the classroom responsibilities to enjoy their experience.
The ideal proportion is this: academic responsibilities + x amount of clubs, activities, etc. = a happy, well-rounded student. But what is that magic number, 'x?' Whatever the number, it should allow individuals to make friends, fill their time with something that interests them, build an impressive resume, and give back to the college community - while at the same time maintaining their responsibility as a student and enjoying the experience.
Every semi-ambitious freshman is going to have to go through the trial- and-error process of finding a happy medium between "bored" and "overwhelmed." Sure, it may take a semester or so of post-it note wallpaper, or ample amounts of time for Facebook stalking, but we'll figure it out.