It’s that magical time of the term again when we realize finals are circling like birds of prey. Between classes, jobs, laundry and extracurricular activities, most Lawrentians have little time in their schedules. Sleep is unlikely. And somehow, through all of this, we still get our work done and remain loyal to our extracurriculars. Some are important commitments like sports or ensembles. But I have to ask, do we sign up for too many commitments and clubs?
Just how many? Lawrence has around 150 different clubs, sports, musical groups and other sorts of activities. We have a student body of about 1,500. Plainly put, we have 10 students for every club. Of course, we aren’t going to split nicely into groups of 10, and some students participate in a lot of groups while others join few or none.
Choosing which groups to join is where most Lawrentians go astray. At the Fall Term activities fair, freshmen sign up for too many things. GLOW is certainly a worthwhile organization, but I’ve never been to a single meeting, and their emails just end up in my trash. Choice is an overwhelming prospect, and the barrage of activities can result in a schedule that is too busy or too empty.
Even within subcategories of organizations, a number of different choices are available. For example, I always think I ought to be more involved with feminist organizations on campus. However, I couldn’t make up my mind about which to join. I went to a few DFC meetings, but that wasn’t quite my cup of tea. The Student Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence seems like a valuable group, and I’m interested in All is One!, but neither fit into my schedule. And of course, all these different choices are paralyzing.
This overabundance of choice can also have the opposite effect. A good friend of mine isn’t in the Con, but she really loves to sing. As a result, she takes voice lessons and is a part of Cantala and Appletones. While she gets credit for the former two, they are not a part of her major. Meanwhile, she participates in several other activities and rarely has a free moment. It would probably benefit her to leave one of them, but she would have to choose which to drop.
Neither of these situations, having too many or too few activities, is advisable. Having more time-management help may aid the situation, but who has time for that? Perhaps integrating extracurriculars into Freshmen Studies could be useful. If Freshmen Studies professors and advisors checked in on students’ nonacademic lives more often, they could offer guidance on managing extracurriculars. This may also make
Freshman Studies a bit more useful, and students involved in an activity they find important will be less likely to transfer.
Choice is troublesome. Making tough decisions can be worse than not having a choice at all. We may all find a refresher on time management useful, or campus organizations may need to consolidate. Clubs emerge on campus because of student interest, but the number available may be rather ambitious considering Lawrence’s size. However, choosing which ones to get rid of would be too difficult when they all seem worthwhile.