I realized I have a bad habit. I realized I want to do everything.
But do I want to do everything because I truly want to, or because I feel like I need to?
While this statement applies to many aspects of my life (I want to eat all the ice cream flavors or let’s do every fun and free activity in Chattanooga)… this really applies in the student affairs world.
As a student affairs graduate student (#SAgrad as I will often use), I feel an unspoken pressure to be as involved as possible. Do you know how in high school you felt like you had to join every extracurricular group (okay, just me?) or in college you wanted to be a leader in every organization? We have this obsession of being involved in everything, because heaven forbid if we say “no” then we aren’t a leader or committed to self development. I know I definitely felt this way and often over-committed myself to where I was stretched so thin I would sacrifice food or sleep to accomplish every task, email, and meeting.
I don’t think this overcommitment is so much of a problem or something “horrible” I am calling out, but more so a weakness that we need to focus on improving. I would be very surprised if any #SAgrad or #SApro hasn’t felt this pressure (or been crushed under this pressure) at least a few times.
The reason this issue, or challenge, is on my brain is because I am realizing how many commitments I have taken on. Don’t get me wrong– I love everything I have committed to and I definitely don’t think I am overcommitted at this point. I know I like to overcommit so I have practiced great self respect and control by saying “no” either to myself or some other opportunity. This self respect is executed a lot every time I see a post that says “calling all #SAgrads” or practically any conference opportunity. (Side note, I am a conference-holic. If planning and attending conferences was a career in itself, I would probably do that. The WOO in me just can’t get enough).
Yes, I love everything I commit to. Yes, I am growing from it. But yes, I sometimes feel pressured to take any and every opportunity I can. Why? Maybe it’s because I want to build my resume, but maybe it’s because I feel like I need any and every opportunity I can to “prove” myself when it comes to job applications soon. (Job application blog coming soon…). I find an irony in encouraging my students to enhance rather than expose (aka quality over quantity when it comes to leadership opportunities) but I can’t seem to always take the advice myself.
At what point does the passion to want to grow and be involved in everything turn into an overcommitment and overindulgence of volunteering?
Share your thoughts with me. Tweet me @amanda_koslow and use the hashtag #SAcommit .
quote of the day: “We need to be better at helping students find their voice. Not being their voice. There is a difference.” – Erik Tiernan from #SAchat A4 on 6/23/16, @Erik_Tiernan