You are always doing stuff. That was the subject of an email my advisor sent me a few weeks ago. While she meant it in response to a few things that I had done to help out around the chemistry department, I hate to admit that it applies to my life as a whole. Currently, I am a chemistry major in the Templeton Honors College, with minors in mathematics and astronomy. I had another minor in French up until a few weeks ago, but I figured that would just be overkill, right? I also work in admissions, am a teaching assistant for the freshman chemistry courses, and have babysat for a local family two days a week for the past three years.
Despite my busy schedule and hectic workload, I couldn’t imagine my college life any other way. Of course, most of the decisions I made regarding my studies were with graduate school and my future career in mind. Nevertheless, each program and department that I have been involved in has helped me grow as a person. Templeton has provided me with a fuller understanding of how to be a good citizen, scholar, and Christian. It has also given me the best group of friends I could ask for. The faculty in the chemistry department has prepared me to go on to pursue a doctorate in physical chemistry next fall. My experiences with math and astronomy have not only expanded my knowledge of science but have helped me see the world differently.
Additionally, having a variety of work has resulted in my versatility as a student, and keeps things interesting when doing homework. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from writing an essay about Plato to work on some thermodynamics homework. Having activities outside of school is helpful, too. Admissions has encouraged me to be more outgoing, and babysitting has reminded me that a world exists outside of this college campus.
If my education at Eastern has taught me anything (dear professors: it has), it is that college needs balance. I love every department and activity that I am involved in, but if I tried to do everything without taking any time for myself, I would have burned out by sophomore year. I learned early on that it is okay to say “no” sometimes, whether it is to extra hours at work, a volunteer position, or weekend plans. Supportive friends are a necessity, too: they understand when I need to spend an entire weekend working on my research thesis, but they also get when I need to take a break and have a movie night. Having a balance between work and fun is the only way to manage a difficult course load while still enjoying college.
Overall, I would encourage underclassmen and prospective students to get involved in as many things as you can handle, whether that be double-majoring, minoring, or joining extracurricular activities. Not only will it look good on résumés and open doors to new opportunities, but it will introduce you to all kinds of different people. Studying seemingly unrelated subjects has the ability to round out your education and help you grow as a student and a person. While it is important to make time for yourself and manage your stress, it will be worth it in the end.