4 Ways To Stay Involved On Campus and Keep Your Grades Up

You’re finally all settled in to the new dorm room, have met your roommate, mingled with some floor mates, and are organized for the first day of classes. Just as you start to feel a little relaxed, you step outside only to walk right into a club showcase. Everywhere you turn, there’s someone in a bright colored t-shirt handing out flyers about things you’ve never even considered a club: surfing, scrapbooking, dancing and even fencing. In a matter of minutes, your name is on five different sign-up sheets, and you’ve committed to the first meetings of each.

Then class starts. And you suddenly realize, even after much warning, that college classes are actually harder than high school ones. You know you need to commit to more study hours, but can’t bear the thought of dropping knitting club! Here’s how to keep up with extracurriculars, while still maintaining an awesome GPA.

1) Pick your top two extracurriculars: We know, we know. How can you possibly narrow it down to just two?! But remember- school comes first. And while it might seem like a great idea to be as involved as possible, your grades will suffer if you spread yourself too thin. If it’s hard for you to pick out a couple, try to mix and match different interests. For example, if you’re signed up for math club, line dancing and swing dancing club, try dropping swing dancing. You’ll still get to have a great time dancing with friends once a week, and won’t have sacrificed a separate interest, which diversifies your college experience. If it’s still too hard to decide, make a pros and cons list of every club to decide.

2) Consider academic clubs: A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to join a club that promotes good grades. Try to find a club with students of similar majors or classes, who will be able to sympathize with you about a tough professor, get together for study groups and encourage you to get more involved with your major. Academic clubs don’t just have to be about homework either – most clubs have get-togethers for fun study breaks too. By meeting people with similar academic interests, you’ll be setting yourself up for a great four years surrounded by people who will advance your educational and social calendar.

3) Run for a smaller position: You might be tempted to be run for an important position when elections come around, but if you’re worried about staying focused on school, think twice before applying. But if you want to stay in the loop with club happenings and feel like you’re an integral part of the team, try running for a smaller position. Most clubs go beyond the standard president, vice president or secretary kind of jobs. Run for website chair, or get on a committee. You’ll still be involved with all your club’s activities without such a huge time commitment.

4) Learn to manage your time: Time management is probably the most important skill to have if you want to be involved in multiple activities on top of school. Buy yourself a planner, and block out times for class, club meetings and various events. But don’t forget to schedule in some homework time too! Setting aside specific times for schoolwork will help you remember that it’s still an important part of a busy schedule, and it’ll help you to not spread yourself too thin. Writing everything down will also help you to see if you’re giving yourself too much to do, as you will easily see where most of your time is going (hint: it should mostly be to school!) Learning time management skills now will help you all throughout life.

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Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor is a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. At school, she enjoys her job working for the university's Academic Skills Center, taking part in social and charity events with her sorority, or just reading a book in the sunshine. Outside of school, she enjoys travel, learning to cook, catching up on her favorite TV shows and exploring her coastal college town.