As you sit in your first class of your junior or senior year, you begin making small talk with those around you. You ask each other the basic questions: “How are you?” “What’s your major?” “What classes are you taking?” But then you get hit with a question that stops you in your tracks. “What campus organizations are you involved with?” With a startled look, you reply, “Well, I did some stuff with PRSSA last year, and I go to small group at my church when I can.” Your classmate proceeds to discuss all of the activities he or she is involved with — not just PRSSA, but AdFed, Capstone Agency, Capstone Men and Women, Greek life and UADM — as well as taking 18 credit hours and serving as a small group leader at his or her church with time to volunteer at the food bank on weekends. You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. How can someone do this? Why am I not doing this?
You start to wonder if what you’re doing is good enough to land yourself a job. Even more troubling, you start to wonder if what you’re doing is good enough to get yourself into one of these organizations. What do you do?
Do what’s best for you.
First of all, breathe.
It can be easy to freak out in this situation and start questioning everything you’ve done in the past two or three years.
What you should know is that what this person is doing is great, but it might not be for you. At least for now, it is not your path.
The important thing is to realize that whatever you have done in the past is preparing you for your future. You have developed skills that maybe you haven’t honed in on yet.
So, rest in the fact that things are going to be ok. The world will not end because you haven’t participated in every campus organization.
Make a decision.
Then, decide on what you want to do to change your situation. Take some initiatives. They can be big steps; they can be small steps. But have a goal in mind.
If you want to be more specific in your field, such as working in nonprofit PR, then join organizations and committees that will help you get there. If you want a more general route, do some research on what would most benefit you no matter which way you go. In all cases, the SOURCE and your adviser are some great ways to start your search. Most of all, get to know yourself. If you know that keeping yourself busy with certain organizations will help reach your goal, then go for some big steps. If you know that having too much pressure from too many responsibilities will harm you more than help you, then by all means, make sure you don’t overload yourself. At any rate, learn how to say “no.” Some things aren’t worth your sanity or time. Know what’s good for you. Go for it. It may feel overwhelming at first, but once you have a goal in mind and take steps to reach it, the search for organizations on campus will become light. Opportunities will pop up if you keep your eyes open. Joining campus organizations is a valuable part of your college career. You learn important lessons there that you wouldn’t learn in the classroom. But don’t let someone scare you into thinking that what you’re doing is not enough. The truth is, you are enough. You are awesome. Never let someone else make a decision for you. Embrace your awesomeness by knowing that your past is preparing you for your future. Take that first step into your future and join an organization that is best for you. It may seem overwhelming or scary, but do it anyway. That’s what awesome people like you are born to do.
By Hope Todd, PRSSA General Member