College is about more than making the grade

I’ll be the first to admit it – I’ve never been good at managing my time. I bite off more than I can chew and end up super stressed because I have so many things going on at once. Trying to balance school with work and extracurricular activities never came easily to me.

I’d always put my grades before anything, but now that I’m in college that philosophy just won’t fly. Being productive is about more than just doing well in your classes. If you want to succeed, you have to travel outside of your comfort zone and start doing things you normally wouldn’t do. Only now am I starting to learn exactly what that means.

I’m not completely introverted mind you, but I do have a tendency to keep to myself. While I love being social and talking with other people, when crunch time comes I shut myself off from the outside world. This used to be acceptable for me, but living with a close-knit group of guys in a college known for its sense of community changes a few things. I came to college first and foremost to succeed academically, and ironically enough the most important thing I’m learning is that grades can’t dominate your life.

That’s not to say grades aren’t important. It’s just that if you want the full blown college experience, you’ve got to get out once in a while. Last year I joined two clubs and a fraternity, but still put grades before everything. Now I’m becoming more involved and taking greater responsibility in my life. Grades are only a part of what my life is becoming. And I’ll be honest: it’s not easy.

I could handle my life back when grades were all I had to worry about. But with other commitments popping up, I have to manage my time better. True, it’s challenging. Sometimes it seems like it’s all too much.

But then I realized something. I know about the academic side of me. I’ve been using it for my entire student career. But I know I have more potential than just being a successful student. Getting more involved in all of these organizations is helping me discover more about who I am and who I want to be. How can I learn more about myself if all I do is study?

This university has so many opportunities laid out for us. There is no excuse to not be involved in something. Any kind of club, sport or organization imaginable is here, ripe for joining. You can’t discover what you want to do with your life if you focus on grades alone.

So while midterms may be just around the corner and everyone, me included, is stressing over tests and quizzes, that isn’t an excuse to shove everything else to the side. I want to do well in school, but I also want to learn what I’m truly capable of. And that means going out and getting involved, something everyone should do.

 

Bahnt Freiberger is a junior journalism major from Spring Grove. He is the Voice assistant editor.

Direct comments, questions and other responses to bfreiberger@mail.bradley.edu.