I recently started a Virtual Certified Peer Educator Training through NASPA and I saw a slide that resonated with me, “Common Traps of a Peer Educator: Trying to do too much.” A lot of us student leaders or even just active students on campus, fall into this trap. I have fell victim to this trap time and time again. It affected my grades and my mental health and I had to reach out for help, but because I had so much on my plate I felt like I had no time to get help for myself. My grades suffered my freshman year and I am still paying for it, I have to work extra hard in my classes so that I can rebuild my GPA to a comfortable place. We have to take the advice that we give our peers and ask for help whenever we need it or to prevent something like this.
There is this really great opportunity to be a student assistant for a project I am very interested in and I met all the requirements. I was planning my schedule to make room for this potential new opportunity and even called my mom excited when I was just submitting the application. I was so excited when I was emailed about the first interview and was happy to even be considered. The day I found out I moved onto the next round of interviews I was made aware by a friend that winter break is coming to an end and anxiety started to settle in. I suddenly felt like if I put too much on my plate I would go back to freshman year. I felt like I wouldn’t do well because it’s a new field I have never worked in before and I was considering not going onto the next round.
Like I always tell my mentees, I went to a trusted adviser for help. He has been with me since the summer before my freshman year because I was a scholar of a summer institute for low-income and first-generation students of color. I asked him for advice and he said I should make it work, it’s an opportunity I never had before. I have never done research. He said I need to plan my schedule out to fit this opportunity and then he put me on the spot “if you had to remove one commitment, what could you live without?” and although I love mentoring, I think 2 summers and 3 semesters of it have been plenty and if I need to quit that to fit this than so be it. I would hate to see it go because I feel so attached to my jobs. I am comfortable where I’m at and I know I am doing work that will help others but this research opportunity will help others, too.
I feel like our four years of college, aside from studies, is a lot of climbing up to better opportunities. Mentoring is a great opportunity but its been enough time now and I should move on to more something intense, greater and brand new. We should overload ourselves but we shouldn’t remain comfortable in the same place – we need to grow. We shouldn’t pick up and drop opportunities every semester but when a new and better one comes along we should consider it. I like to stay within my networking circle because I would get opportunities from “knowing a guy who knows a guy” because theres a level of discomfort when we have to advocate for ourselves to people who know nothing of your background, but that’s exactly where we need to be, places where we wouldn’t go but should.