I have always wanted to be everything to everyone. In high school, I took on cheer captain and newspaper editor the same year I was in five AP classes and applied to colleges while trying to hang out with my friends before graduation.
It was hell. But I thought that’s how high school was supposed to feel.
So then in my undergrad years at college, I repeated my mistakes. At one point, I was elected an officer in my sorority, worked two on-campus jobs, took 18 credit hours of class, and eventually had a complete breakdown. I was surprised, but my friends and family were not. I realized that I’m doing both myself and others a disservice if I try to do everything.
It’s hard not to, though, when you’re like me and you feel like you’re disappointing someone if you’re not doing everything humanly possible. You have to remember, though: You can do anything, but not everything.
Be picky with your time and your talents.
Trust me, no one will be let down when you’re doing what you love and being realistic about what you can devote yourself to.
But how to choose?
Think about what you actually enjoy.
What makes you forget about everything else while you do it? What is on your mind all day?
For me, a few things stand out above the rest: Writing, reading, listening to music, dancing, and helping others. That last one is the toughest to sort out, because it means I raise my hand for just about anything someone needs, but look at it this way: You can help others with things that you enjoy helping with. I like helping my sorority with PR and dance choreography for talent competitions, because I enjoy PR and dance already on their own.
Check each box on your list, not all the boxes on everyone’s list.
Be a joiner, but be selective. Don’t just join everything to join everything– pick things with a purpose to you.
If you want to get more involved in campus clubs or other organizations and need help narrowing it down, pick up to four that accomplish the following categories:
- Career/School: Something that benefits your academic success, like an honors fraternity, a club specific to your major (Psychology Club, for instance), or a professional organization
- Service: Something that benefits others, such as Make-A-Wish or Alternative Spring Break
- Fitness: An organization that promotes being active, such as a club soccer team or Zumba class
- Fun: An organization that fits with one of your hobbies or passions, like photography club, Quidditch if that’s your thing.
Start with the essentials.
If you need to make money, make time for a job. If you need to get better grades, block out more time for studying. If you work full time and you want a promotion, stay focused to make it happen. Then, if you’re doing fine, start adding on.
Take stock of your goals and figure out what you need to reach them, and then you can zero in on what is actually important. It’s amazing how much better it feels to have three things on your plate instead of ten.
I know you want to get involved in everything, but if you spread yourself too thin and can’t dedicate 100% to each thing, there’s no point in doing it. I’ll say it again: You can do anything, but not everything. Find what you really want to do. Then go do it, and do it with all the energy you’ve got!