Student Involvement: How Much is Too Much?

Nicole Smith is one of many students at West Virginia State University who is involved in multiple activities, works and attends classes through the week.

Smith said she stays busy with activities because she is a go-getter. She said she enjoys helping others, and it makes her happy to be involved. Attending college and having a full experience is important, she said. If there is something to join or get involved in, she is going to pursue it.

Smith is involved in Nyansa, NAACP, Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Lambda, Tobacco Free Yellow Jackets and National Society of Leadership. Her titles range from president, vice president, secretary, community service coordinator and member. Her duties include weekly meetings.

She also has jobs at Build a Bear and Student Support Services (work study), working 30 hours a week. She is taking 18 hours of classes each semester.

A criminal justice major who minors in psychology, Smith hopes to attend law school. She also would like to become a spokeswoman for an organization that is fighting ulcerative colitis, a disease Smith has endured since she was 8 years old.

If Smith could give other students advice about taking on activities, she would encourage them to delegate. She said there is no reason to feel the need to take on everybody’s job by yourself. Give yourself time to breathe, she said. Active students can experience scheduling problems, Smith said.

Therefore, someone has to pick up the slack in other areas of the organizations.

Scott Woodard, associate provost and associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said sees students who may be having difficulty juggling everything. He said he encourages students who find themselves overwhelmed to come to Academic Affairs.

Woodard is a music professor, and he said he has seen students who overload themselves with activities. Music students, he said, often are burdened with playing in many ensembles per semester.

Woodard said he doesn’t think students becoming overloaded is necessarily a problem. He said there always are students who are go-getters and overachieve, and they don’t have a problem taking on more responsibilities.

Woodard said he was the student who wanted to be in everything, mainly music related.

“I like to see the student mentality be more geared towards being involved in things,” Woodard said.

WVSU has been a commuter campus for years, which means students go to class and then leave. That may mean students are unaware of activities on campus, he said.

Woodard said State is a liberal arts institution, and it is important for students to be involved in the liberal arts education. The Greeks sought to build the whole person through education and not be focused on a single field of study, he said.

A liberal arts education builds the whole person, and that why State requires general education topics. Woodard said math students have to take English because the university seeks build the whole person.

Students, he said, can be involved to the point where their studies are not suffering.

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