As much as I love being a student leader, I’ve learned that there are times when it’s not all that great. Here are the top three reasons that have sometimes made me wish that I wasn’t so involved:
The work load can get overwhelming – The position that you hold in an organization typically determines the amount of responsibility that you have. Along with that, you are also taking classes, maybe working and/or playing sports. Balancing all of these things is not always easy no matter how good your time management skills are. Sometimes life happens and you fall behind. Running an entire week of events with 3 exams and a paper due isn’t easy for anyone. It gets worse when you have to pick up the slack for eboard members who aren’t doing their fair share. It’s bad enough to have a lot on your plate without the people that are supposed to help you adding more.
People assume that you know everything about everything – If you happen to get involved in a good number of things like I did, people start to treat you as if you’re obligated to know the answers to all their questions. For example, people have sometimes asked me about organizations that I am not even a part of so when I told them that I couldn’t answer their question they responded with, “Oh but aren’t you in everything?” No, I’m not and as my friend I would appreciate it if you knew what I was actually involved in. Or, in the case of the Student Union Board, people expected me to know all the details of every single event that the organization hosted. SUB plans about 30 events per semester, you cannot expect me to attend or plan all of them. That’s why we have so many exec members in the first place, one person in charge of all of it would be way too much to handle.
Being a student leader can get lonely – When you’re involved in a lot of different things, people make the assumption that you are best friends with everyone that you work with. As great as that sounds, it isn’t always the case. Sometimes you’re only with the people you work with for work, either because you just aren’t that close or because they’re just as busy as you are. This isn’t a bad thing, sometimes that’s just the way it is. Sometimes being a student leader has even kept me away from the people that I’ve lived with. Before I became an RA, my roommate got into the habit of asking me what my week looked like because we hardly saw each other. She and I shared a room but unfortunately we were only together when we were sleeping or on Sundays.
So how do you combat the troubles of being a student leader? Remember that you are a student first. Extracurriculars should never come before schoolwork, so if there’s a battle before the two – school wins. If school has nothing to do with your additional stress, then it may be time to reevaluate your involvement in the organization. Maybe you’re doing too much or others aren’t doing enough. Voice your concerns and see where it goes from there. If nothing changes, it may be time to walk away. The added stress and late nights, aren’t worth it.