By Chelsea LoCascio
What do your honor society and club memberships, 3.5 or above GPA and internships all have in common? They are not good enough — or at least that is what you tell yourself. As I end my third year at the College, I have become increasingly aware of the defeatist attitude that plagues many of the students here. We tell ourselves that a “B+” in a class is not going to cut it and that it will ruin any chance of landing a spot on the Dean’s List. You can feel the judgement radiating from your peers — which you internalize — as you get back a test with anything less than an “A.”
However, the attitude that we as individuals, and as a campus, perpetuate is absurd and needs to be put in perspective. While good grades are important, they are not everything. They are not worth harming your mental or physical health, social life or happiness. This mindset extends past just grades and drives us to be a part of as many clubs as possible, as well as leading as many of them as possible. Although being a part of extracurricular activities is good for your résumé, it can cause you to spread yourself too thin. Join clubs, but only those that will aid in your personal growth through things like friendship, skill building or networking. Clubs are meaningless unless you grow from being a part of them.
Beyond grades and clubs, we push ourselves to participate in as many research projects, internships and competitions as possible because we do not feel that just one opportunity is enough. As invaluable as these experiences are, there is a certain point when you can turn down an out-of-classroom experience or stop actively seeking one out. There is more to life than earning an award or having the most experience with something. While these things are good, they do not define your current or future success.
If you have given your time at the College your all through classes, internship experiences, clubs, jobs, etc., then it is perfectly acceptable to take a lighter course load one semester or drop all of your responsibilities for a summer. Whether you are heading into next semester or the real world, be sure not to get down on yourself about not being the best in your major or graduating class. While I commend the vast majority of the students at the College for caring about their careers above everything else, it would be even more impressive if we all could learn how to maintain a healthy balance between work and our personal lives.