Managing Commitments

February 24, 2021
Fedjine Mitchelle Victor

At the start of your first year at Princeton, there will be an amazing Students Activities Fair where you can really get a sense of all the different clubs and organizations available on Princeton’s campus. The social scene, the clubs and organizations will definitely color some of your experiences at Princeton. But with so many options, it is so common to overcommit yourself during your first year. Here are some things I wish I knew as a first-year student about managing commitments!

Pace Yourself

We come to college with so many passions that we may want to explore all of them! However, you don’t have to join everything at once. Take your time. You may find out about new clubs as the year goes on. Leave some space for spontaneous gems.

Less is More

I personally suggest to start with 2-3 clubs with differing commitment levels. Your first semester at Princeton can be very exhausting! The academic pace or workload may be different than what you are accustomed to. I know it was for me. Having spaces that allow you to de-stress is amazing, but too many clubs can lead to stretching yourself thin. Princeton would love to see you shining at your best with a few clubs, rather than feeling overwhelmed by too many.

No is Okay; Not Yet is Okay; Not Now is Okay

If you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always take a semester off of one club to focus on another. You can also choose to no longer be in that club altogether but still show support. Most clubs, if not all, are led by students just like you and they will understand if you need to take a break. Additionally, unless you’re interested in the club's emails or are planning to rejoin, do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from the email list.

Take a Less Active Role 

If you don't want leave or take a semester off, one possibility is to take a less active role in the club or activity. Doing so will reduce the number of hours you have to commit to that one club. That leaves space for you to breathe!

Once You Have the Schedule, Make it Visual!

Scheduling is a huge determinant of what clubs I choose to particpate in. I like to use Google calendar to schedule all my classes, job hours and expected club commitments in one place. If you don’t have time in your schedule to just spontaneously go out for a meal or sit and do something you love, you’re possibly over committed. Learning Consultants, which are students through the McGraw Center, can help you make these schedules or these tough decisions if you're feeling overwhelmed by your commitments.

I hope you found these helpful! Also here is the list of most of the clubs and organizations on campus.