By: Thomas Moore, Campus Editor
It is self-evident that Furman students are obsessed with extracurricular activities. Ask any student at Furman what they are involved in and odds are that person will be involved in at least two clubs, two intramural sports, and potentially a job off-campus, not to mention Greek life. This kind of overinvolvement is not something to be celebrated, but rather, it is deeply problematic for Furman’s students.
The first problem with being overinvolved is that one’s physical and mental health are negatively affected. It is no accident that Bilbo said in “The Fellowship of the Ring” that stretching oneself too thin makes one feel like “butter scraped over too much bread.” A rigorous lifestyle results in overexertion and less sleep. This makes people prone to sickness and means that one’s activities will be negatively impacted. Further, it can spread and cause the rest of us to be sick as well.
The second problem with overinvolvement in extracurriculars is that quality of work decreases as quantity increases. Many students boast about how many clubs they are in, yet few mention their GPA. Arguably, people undertake numerous activities to compensate for a low GPA. These students should take heed that less extracurriculars would allow more time for studying. It seems more reasonable to simply pick fewer extracurriculars that one truly enjoys and devote onself to doing them well. Rather than undertaking useless workloads, students should be more selective; they should plan, execute and enjoy.
The third problem with overinvolvement is that one does not have time for leisure. Once upon a time, “leisure” meant extra time to think about the mysteries of life and contemplate the deeper meaning of the universe. Now, it means eating Hawaiian pizza and watching Netflix when you are utterly exhausted from a busy day. As much as we all love watching Pretty Little Liars, Netflix shows do little for the soul. We are creatures of curiosity, yet we are diminished when we are exhausted and slothful in our precious hours of free time.
Finally, overinvolvement detracts from cultivating long-lasting relationships. Bear in mind the old adage, “Social life, grades, sleep. Pick two.” Typically, people choose to lose sleep, and those who bother to heed health advice tend to pick losing their social life. Some students wiggle around that one by making their extracurriculars their social life. But students should not deceive themselves. Just being around people is much different from forging deep, meaningful relationships with them. Students should be careful that overinvolvement does not detract from the quality time they have available to devote to their friends. It also worth mentioning that Furman relationships are not the only ones worth cultivating; we should forget neither our childhood friends, nor our parents. Childhood friends can be some of the most important people in life, as can our parents.
Hopefully my words do not fall on deaf ears. I must be honest — I have been guilty of what I now condemn. I hope that freshmen and sophomores will not make the same mistakes I have. I hope that the Furman student body takes care of itself, cultivates its relationships with one another and tends to grades and activities with both cunning and wisdom.