Say yes to saying no

How encouraging over-committment can harm students

Welcome to CNU, where our motto is get involved! Here we stress joining as many clubs and organizations as possible until we are nothing but stressed. 

Students tend to join organization after organization, and they take pride in filling all their free time with activities. In fact, they can’t recognize when they are at their limits, and they don’t know when to stop. 

Currently, according to the CNU website and Compass, we have almost 250 clubs, 21 recognized Greek organizations and 23 sports teams (10 for men and 13 for women). In addition, those 21 fraternities and sororities only include the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC); it does not encompass any of the dozens of other fraternities, sororities and honor societies.

While these numbers already show a high involvement, they leave out a lot. They do not include any of the many bands on campus, the artists, the theater members or the students who are employed. It also excludes the large percentage of students who are in the Presidential Leadership Program, the Honors Program, those that volunteer and those who do research. 

Almost all students are involved in at least one of these areas. 

Most, a lot more than one. 

Me, about ten.

Oh, and did I mention that we are also students?

Getting over-involved is a major concern for most university students. There’s a belief that the more you are exposed to now, the better prepared you will be after graduation. Therefore, students join everything. And I mean, everything.

It leads to students spending so much time on their organizations and academics, however, that they stop devoting the needed time for themselves. They put their resume above their health and sanity.

When students keep saying yes to everything, they are saying no to themselves.

Sleep is often most neglected by students. It’s common knowledge that people in their early twenties need about eight hours of sleep, yet so many students are sleep deprived and rely on extra sleep from naps or the weekend to survive. Sleeping in on the weekend can’t fix a whole week of not sleeping.

In addition, students are sacrificing good habits to be more involved. They don’t have time to go to the gym, so the “Freshman 15” occurs every year. They weaken their immune systems, so the flu reigns king. They have too many activities, so they don’t have time to do their other activities. Students are doing too much, and they are getting burnt out. 

These habits are leading to increased anxiety, depression and stress. According to an American College Health survey, “nearly 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they had ‘felt overwhelming anxiety’ in the same time period.”

Don’t get me wrong, being involved is great. 

These organizations make students happier and more engaged; it acts as release from their academic lives. 

It’s how students make friends, build their social lives and create long-lasting networks. It also makes up what is known as the “college life,” and it’s what you as an alumni will reminisce about for years to come.

Students, however, are just taking on too much. They want to be the best and not let anyone down, so they push themselves to try to do everything and try to be perfect. They don’t want to seem like they are incapable, so they are afraid of saying no. 

I also used to be afraid of saying no.

That changed when I realized that getting involved is important until it starts to affect your physical and mental health. 

College is the best time of your life, but how can you enjoy yourself if you start taking away what makes life worth living? Saying no to something for your health or sanity is not a fault. 

It’s human. 

If you feel yourself succumbing to stress and anxiety, or if you feel that you can’t handle everything, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Don’t be afraid to say no. 

That organization will still be there, but if you push yourself too hard, will you still be here?

~Vivianna Atkins, Staff Writer~

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