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Overcommitted, the Brandeisian story of citizenship

This past Sunday, the Great Lawn was a setting for a semesterly ritual that has come to be known as the Activities Fair. To the untrained eye, it seems like a burst of energy at the beginning of the semester, a joyous occasion filled with the sounds of enthused members of the Brandeis club community, and it is. Nevertheless, a veteran of such events knows that there is more than just a passionate zeal behind the expressions of those who stand behind their respective tables. Almost every single one is a member of another club, if not clubs. A first-year may even turn their head, suddenly seeing a familiar face at one table even though they just spoke to them at another. There is a theory to why people find themselves juggling so many clubs. Most abide by the strategy of signing up for everything they think they could be interested in. Following the hundred emails that spam their inbox, aforementioned strategists begin to unsubscribe to listservs, figuring out which ones fit in their schedule or after a meeting or two, discovering their preference.    

Nevertheless, there’s a hitch in such a rational course of action. More often than not, people find many clubs that they love. Before they know it, they are overcommitted. Don’t worry, you are not alone. The overcommitted student has become a uniquely Brandeisian phenomenon, even a norm across our campus. Such a quality that embodies loyalty, passion and the deluded thought that “we can do it all” is probably one of the many reasons we find ourselves to be Brandeis students. But, we are not in high school anymore. A roll call of activities was expected from us in our formative years, resume builders that could get us to college. I guess it’s hard to change when all you have ever known is being busy. I am more than guilty of this.  

This is not a call to give up doing the things you love. Neither is it a recommendation to bite off more than you can chew. I am merely pointing out what is fact: Brandeisians try to rule the school after a day full of classes that entail their own lofty workload. Yet, I have an inkling that the extracurricular craze is more than just about a list on a resume. A student has had a hand on almost every single thing that occurs on this campus. If anything else, Brandeis students are involved and rightly should be. This is their campus after all. The busy atmosphere of the Great Lawn was just a single exhibition of students’ influence on their environment. 415 South Street, Waltham, MA is where undergraduates can make a simple and otherwise unused rooftop into an innovative environmental initiative, act as their own emergency medical service and rank number one in the country for community service (Princeton Review). Honestly, the going to class part of being a student at Brandeis is the minimum.

From events planned by students to publications written by students to shows performed by students to artwork created by students, I wonder when anyone sleeps. It would explain the long lines at any source of caffeine on campus. Either way, being a student at Brandeis is being a member of a community, one that is fortunately filled with citizens who care. That’s why they join so many clubs and yell in your face at the beginning of every semester. Upperclassmen are eager to invite underclassmen to experience the clubs they fell in love with. They want to offer opportunities to have unforgettable memories, just like the intangible and irreplaceable moments that have made up their time at Brandeis so far.    
You will never attend an event on this campus where a student, if not a bunch of students, have not played a role. This commitment to being so involved is one of the aspects that makes Brandeis a mystical entity. It’s not a very large school, but an inexplicable amount occurs here on a daily basis. As a plea of communal sanity, I simply suggest the concept of prioritization: Know what is important to you, and don’t feel obligated to do things that don’t make you happy. These vague words of wisdom can stretch to your studies and day-to-day activities, especially as a busy Brandeisian, experienced in the practice of time management.

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