Second semester at Emerson has started. The dorms are packed with students from all over the country–well mostly from Massachusetts, California, and for some reason New Jersey. There are a couple of new freshmen who wander the halls looking like lost pups, but the other freshmen have a whole semester under their belts and feel upgraded to pro status.
It seems that everyone is rushing from class to squeezing their Einstein bagels so hard that the cream cheese could pop out at any moment. Little do you know that before that class they already have had a club meeting, submitted a piece for a magazine, and had a shift at work. Emerson students are notoriously busy and it seems that an overbooked schedule has become the “norm.”
Annie Makielski a junior political communications major here at Emerson College is class president, an orientation leader, and works at Starbucks yet she still feels like she is not doing enough. She admits, “I don’t know where I’d have the time for more.” I find myself thinking like this from time to time. Worrying that even though I am part of Emerson channel, becoming a new member of a sorority, blogging, working and doing what I actually came here to do (study Writing Literature and Publishing) that I should somehow be doing more.
This all comes from the Emerson mentality that one has to be busy or they are considered lazy. This became noticeable to me when I started meeting the sisters of the sorority I am a new member of. During our first few times of hanging out the topic of organizations would come up and I seemed to get one of two answers. Either, they were in too many organizations to count or they were in none and apologized to me for not being in one. Many who answered of the latter would defend themselves by saying they needed a semester off or that last semester they overloaded. This made me think that they thought I was judging them for not being in anything, even though I wasn’t in the slightest.
It seems that everyone tips toes around the conversations of orgs because there is some secret competition to be in the most without falling apart. This attitude that you need to apologize for not doing enough seems to be a constant in my day-to-day conversations with friends, even if they are in a trillion things. Hell, I even apologize for not joining enough and I find my schedule booked back to back some weekends.
This mentality that you have to be apart of three or more clubs just to be successful is absurd. One freshman Visual Media Arts Major, Jessie Riordan, feels like there is a lot of pressure to be in so much. She says that she really feels the pressure when she talks to people about what organizations they are involved in and it seems like there list never ends. Hearing how much other people are involved in makes her feel like she somehow won’t be as successful in the future.
The Emerson culture implies that you need to put self-care on the back burner in order to get ahead. Your first priority should always be yourself, yet Emerson’s community doesn’t seem to allow for that. The only way to change this is to change our mindset as a community. Everyone’s situation is different and college is hard enough to get through without adding on extracurriculars. If you want to take a semester off do it! If you want to join a million clubs that’s okay too! Just don’t lose sight what’s important, you and the education you are paying 60,000 dollars for.