College Culture

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 29-10-2012

When students first come to college, they are heavily encouraged to take part in activities outside of class. There are many benefits of these activities: making new friends and having a sense of belonging. However, there is a question students often ask themselves: Do I have enough time to participate in an extracurricular activity or campus event, or am I too swamped with homework?

                Kristin Shaw looks up from her encyclopedia-sized biology textbook and smiles at me. She looks like she is studying intensely, so I am hesitant to ask her if she wants to be interviewed. She is really outgoing and friendly, so I introduce myself and explain the assignment. She tells me that she thinks she will be a good person to interview. “I’m taking 18 hours this semester,” she explains. “Wow,” I said, thinking that she must be stressed out all the time. However, after talking with her for a minute or two, she seems surprisingly calm and stress free for someone taking so many classes.

Shaw, a senior from Creston, Iowa, is double majoring in political science and biology and minoring in women’s studies, environmental sustainability and religion. “I didn’t know environmental sustainability was available for a minor,” I told her. In addition to all her classes, she is one of the founding members of TOES (Totally on Earth’s Side) and participates in Morningside Civic Union.

“So, how do you balance all everything? How do you deal with stress?” I ask her. “Well, on Sunday mornings I have what I call “me time”. I take a break and watch movies, go for a walk if it’s a nice day. During the week, I multitask. Like I’m doing right now,” she says. We both laugh. When I ask her if there are people in her life who help with the stress, such as family and friends, her answer surprises me. “Dr. McKinley, one of my advisors, encouraged me to get involved with student government activities when I was a freshman. He’s very much like a dad to me. I call and text him sometimes and I feel I can talk to him about a lot of things.”

For student athletes, there is a challenge to balance homework and going to practice. Chelsey Harvey, a sophomore psychology major plays volleyball. She says that she tries to schedule her classes around her volleyball schedule. “Teachers work around it well. They are usually understanding about scheduling,” she says. Harvey says the biggest challenge is when she has to travel for an away game. “It can be really hard to work on a paper when there is no internet access.”

Anna Hart, a freshman graphic design major from Shenandoah, takes part in cross country and sings in Bel Canto. “Cross country is only for two hours; it’s not super overwhelming,” she says. “I’m taking 13 credits, which hasn’t been too stressful of a load so far. But I struggle a lot with procrastination. I feel like I want to do anything but the homework.” I assured her that she is not alone in her battle with procrastination.

The balance between classes and extracurricular activities can be hard, but it can be achieved.


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