Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

The Commitment Competition: Navigating BC's Extracurricular Scene

Not to be dramatic or anything, but the beginning of a new school year is getting closer. For incoming freshmen, the start of the first year of college is most certainly a time for excitement, fresh opportunity, and newly-surfacing challenges.

After arriving to campus, first year students will quickly learn that BC students have a reputation for being busy. There is something in the Chestnut Hill air that causes students to become anxious and eager to stack up as many commitments as possible at the start of a new academic year. While we all know how unrealistic and painful over-committing oneself is, the desire to get involved is a strong and shared sentiment.

But the truth is, over-involvement is often unnecessary and can put serious pressure on mental health and stress management for many students. That is why it is important to narrow down what activities are most important to you without getting overwhelmed and swept into the mayhem of recruitment, applications, and the pressure to get involved. Hopefully, this article will steer you in the right direction when it comes to navigating the extracurricular scene at Boston College.

The class Facebook group is often the first point of encounter students have with the extensive network of BC organizations. After a simple finger scroll, one can begin to feel overwhelmed by the options as various clubs post paragraphs of information.

Reading the group feed can began to feel almost like a checklist of duties, as if course assignments have already been given in July. This is not to say that bypassing the Facebook chat is beneficial (among other things, it’s how I first began to take up interest in The Gavel). Rather, a more relaxed attitude is beneficial when approaching the chat. 

When the posts in the Facebook group are viewed as a type of catalog with entries intended to spark interests, the vision of what activities and organizations students see themselves exploring becomes clearer. However, understanding the full extent of balancing commitments is often difficult to glean from quickly scrolling through the Facebook group.

This may seem obvious, but just wait until the Student Involvement Fair rolls around. It is an unforgettable day during which the highest forms of character and enthusiasm are displayed by many dedicated students. The fervor becomes so intoxicating that many students walk away from Stokes Lawn thinking that their year has been designed down to the hour. In reality, the best way to view the fair is as a starting place for the trial-and-error process of finding the right groups.

Throughout the assembly line of events and activities that comes with being a first-year student, following instinct is key. Browse the various opportunities that are presented, but pay attention to the ones that are naturally appealing. Those with a natural appeal are the best place to start and call for deeper exploration.

As time passes during the first year at BC, things will begin to settle and feel more balanced. Like always, conversation partners—be they roommates, classmates, professors, or families—are among the most useful tools available.

Planning extracurricular timetables is a difficult task, particularly at BC, and is one that deserves attention and direction. It can be easy to lose this amid the commotion of freshman year, so remember to practice self-care and be sure to take advantage of resources, whether that be conversation partners, the Office of Student Involvement, or simply following your instincts.

Living a life dictated by coffee strength.