During my freshman year of college, I didn’t really want to get involved on campus. I was doing my best to stay focused on school, only joining something if it piqued my interest. Interestingly enough, I found out about The Vermilion, got hired and the rest is history. This year, however, I’m involved in other organizations and committees on campus and the work is piling on.

Of course, I enjoy participating and being thoroughly involved in everything I’m a part of. I honestly thought that I would never be so involved, especially because of my social anxiety. Now, it’s like every time I see a new opportunity to get involved, I’m trying to find out more. I can’t believe how many connections I’ve made and how much growth I’ve seen from myself in just a few weeks. Nevertheless, with great power comes great responsibility.

Balancing school work and my responsibilities in my respective organizations and committees has been a very difficult yet interesting feat. I’m extremely hard on myself when it comes to doing good work, so in all honesty, most of my stress comes from my own mind. Once I head down the rabbit hole, that’s it. I wouldn’t want to let anyone down, including myself, so I knew I had to find ways to alleviate stress.

I found that encouraging myself to get back to some hobbies that I previously didn’t make time for did just the trick. For example, reading books. I had tried to get into reading again over the summer, but things just kept coming up and I could never find the time. Reading has always been a fulfilling pastime of mine and a natural relaxer for me. So now, I ensure that I take at least an hour out of my day to read.

Another thing that I do is watch comfort shows from my childhood. I know that watching TV isn’t necessarily a productive hobby, but I find that I can always count on a childhood favorite to relax my nerves. Most of the time, I watch Disney classics like “Mulan” or “The Lion King.” However, as of late, I’ve been watching “The Nanny,” which is a show that used to air on Nickelodeon in my youth.

Recently, I’ve been more interested in obtaining new hobbies. My roommate had this crocheted flower pillow on her bed and when I asked her who made it, she said that she did. I was so intrigued by the fact that she knew how to crochet well, especially since my grandma tried to teach me as a child, and I didn’t take too well to it. My roommate has agreed to try to teach me again so we’ll see how that goes.

Upon reflection, I think that my choice to get more involved on campus this year instead of last was the right one. I was so nervous about meeting new people and adjusting to college life, so I’m sure that I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I feel that since I’ve made it a priority to be more social this year, the stress of social anxiety has ebbed some.

There have been different points in the past few weeks where I’ve considered relinquishing some of my responsibilities to alleviate stress. However, my involvement in my job and other outlets on campus has truly made such a positive and long lasting impact on my life as a college student. I find myself to be more confident, outgoing and eager to spread my wings. 

I know that while school continues to pick up, balancing all my activities will inevitably become more difficult. Sometimes, I get afraid that I will let all my stress pile up until I explode into smithereens. Obviously that wouldn’t happen, but you get the picture. My biggest concern will always be school, but I made a commitment to each and everyone of my extracurricular activities and I plan to honor it. 

I’ve always sort of struggled with managing my mental wellbeing, so I’m trying to get better at that, but I think that with the methods and habits I’m building now I’ll have the perfect balance. 

In the end, I’m confident that everything that I’m doing and sacrificing is worth it.