Arts, On Campus, Column

Why I Quit Overcommitting At BC

For the busy student, ending a commitment can be the only way to make time for what you love.

At Boston College, we’re committed to overcommitting. One leadership position is never enough. Eighteen credits is always better than 15. Volunteering two hours a week doesn’t cut it—it has to be four, and having an unpaid internship isn’t as great as having a job, too.

Somewhere in between the meeting, the mentoring, the working, and the learning, we find just enough time to eat, sleep, and, if we’re lucky, remember we’re only human. We’re constantly in motion, trying to keep promises that end up being as thin as the free time in our hectic schedules.

Commitment has become paradoxical.

The more things we dedicate ourselves to—whether it be to a club, a sport, or a program—the less we’re actually dedicated to any single one of them. We can’t concentrate in class, because we’re too busy sending emails. We can’t be attentive during group reflections, because we’re too preoccupied by the thought of the research paper we have to write. We can’t make it to practice, because, well, we have another practice with another group that we have to be at.

Our compulsive need to be involved has inevitably forced us to become uninvolved. Most of us don’t even see it—and how would we? We don’t have the time to.

Before day one of freshman year, BC students are told to find their passion. We’re told to set the world aflame, but we sometimes burn out along the way. Not only are we tired and stressed, but we’re also disillusioned—at least in part. If we took a step back and looked at everything our lives are filled with, would we really love it all? Would we find that passion is motivating our commitments, or would it be something else?

Maybe it is possible to care about the tons of different things that we give our thoughts and energy to, but it’s impossible to give them all the attention they need and deserve. We fail to realize that time is finite, we’re limited, and there might just be another person for the job who is able to commit to it and be present in a fuller sense than we are.

It often seems like we’re trying to fit into this mold of what a BC student should be—always being busy. Free afternoons, open evenings, or 10-minute gaps to do whatever we want come with guilt—and for what? Because we’re not doing as much as our peers are? It’s a never-ending cycle, and we’re all feeding the problem.

Last Wednesday—the final day to drop a course without penalty—I found myself in the Dean’s office, fighting my own conscience. I filled out some paperwork, turned it in, and officially became an under-loader. I’m taking fewer credits than the average student, so when it comes to class time, I don’t have a whole lot of it. For once, there’s a small blank slot in my weekly calendar, and I don’t know how to handle it.

After so many semesters of being too involved, it’s hard to accept, appreciate, and enjoy quiet moments. Lightening my load may seem like a cop-out, but I’m trying to look at it as giving myself more space to focus on doing what I actually love.

At BC, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle—to think that our four years here are about having a loaded transcript, a long resume, and a packed planner. We overcommit, but then, we don’t know how to quite commit in the first place. We find our passion, but sometimes lose ourselves in the process. We pencil things in, but don’t always know what’s important.

Featured Image by John Wiley / Heights Editor

October 5, 2014

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