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How much is too much? A collegiate’s guide to 'being involved'

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  October 23, 2013 05:46 PM

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Between the utter chaos of student activities fair and having the Career Fair rear its ugly head this past week, students at Boston College are in overdrive mode.

BC students sign themselves up for clubs believing that they have not only the energy, but also enough hours in the day to fully commit to each one on top of their schoolwork.

What is it about Boston College that makes students feel the need to have their resumes stacked with activities two pages long? Is this over-involvement hurting them when it comes to employment?

Boston College was founded on the principle of giving of oneself to the community and Boston College students certainly take this principle to heart. Involvement is an integral part of college life whether it be social, athletic or volunteerism because it connects us with other students and allows us to form relationships with people who share a common interest or passion.

Involvement is typically not seen as a negative concept; however there is the possibility of becoming over involved which can be far more detrimental than it sounds.

There appears to be a competitive nature on campus where students often feel the need to be over involved in order to compete with their peers.

Louis Gaglini, associate director for Employee Relations at Boston College, is constantly faced with students who feel this pressure and are overwhelmed by their commitments when it comes time to schedule interviews with potential employers.

“It is outside pressures that promote this over involvement, that pressure could be from peers, faculty or parents and it’s coming at students from all directions,” said Gaglini.

According to Gaglini, over-involvement can cloud decision-making and cause students to lose sight of what they truly want to do. Gaglini also stated that when it comes to resumes, over involvement could be detrimental, as no student wants to be challenged by a potential employer to defend their involvement in a specific activity and be unable to do so. If you attend only one meeting a semester and do nothing more, then you putting that on your resume will not serve any purpose.

Over-involvement can be harmful to far more than just a student’s resume. According to Elizabeth Bracher, associate director of First Year Experience, “over-involvement can lead to bad grades and feelings of inadequacy because no one person can do it all.”

Bracher suggests that students take time to reevaluate their commitments from year to year because what was meaningful to them as a first year student may no longer be
meaningful to them their senior year. Reflecting upon why you are involved in certain
activities as well as considering if it ignites your passions are two important aspects that
Bracher believes will help students be involved in a way that is beneficial to their college
experience.

What do students have to say about this over-involvement that seems to be running rampant through BC campus?

“I've really enjoyed being so heavily involved in just a few activities because it has given me a chance to not only work on my leadership skills but also to think about how to improve the organizations I'm been devoting my time to," said Katie Levingston, managing editor at The Gavel and [Student Admissions Program] coordinator.

"I have seen other kids around me who are involved in multiple clubs and are going to insane numbers of meetings," Levinston added. "I feel like they aren’t able to have the same kinds of experience I am.”

This story was posted as part of a collaboration between Your Campus and Boston College's magazine journalism class.

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