The Balance Between Work, School, and Play

Illustration by Drew Buchanan

Madison Kirkpatrick
Campus Beat Reporter

Here at UCSB, it’s not uncommon to be as involved as possible. I am one of these people who are extremely involved. 

My positions include working as a cashier at Paper Source, interning at Paseo Nuevo, interning at the UCSB Humanities and Fine Arts Department (HFA), pledging for community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, serving as director of membership for UCSB’s Communication Association, and last but far from least, working as a campus beat reporter for TBL. 

People often ask me why I take on so much. Considering that only half of it is paid, it might seem like lots of extra work for little reward. But to me, the reward it brings is worth more than money. Being a part of community service is important to me, and as an aspiring social worker, it’s crucial to have these connections. 

My HFA internship allows me to hone my reporting skills in an intimate setting, and being part of this group has taught me valuable communication and social skills.     

At UCSB, it is the norm to be involved with work or extracurriculars. Second-year pharmacology major Maya Teitz is my coworker at Paper Source. In addition to her job at Paper Source (she is currently on a break), she works at two restaurants on campus and does research in a lab.       

In an interview with TBL, she said, “Honestly, if you are willing to work hard it isn’t too bad. The biggest drawbacks are that you can’t really have time to devote yourself to a hobby, and scheduling two things around each other can be really difficult.”       

We all wonder if being so responsible is a good thing, and I often second guess whether or not I should be doing so much even though I love it all. I think about the sacrifices I can make. Can I pledge another quarter? Do I need a cashier job? Do I need school? My mom would kill me if I asked her that, but it’s so true.    

There are certainly disadvantages to being so involved — for instance, you might be double-booked for responsibilities. I’ve had many issues with scheduling; I often get double-booked at Paseo and Paper Source, leaving me to try to compensate. 

While it may not be my fault that a manager got my schedule incorrect, it is important to hold myself accountable for doing so much.    

While many may say that UCSB promotes burnout, it’s important to consider the choices you make. Many students will choose not be overly involved in order to focus on self-care and education. 

First-year pre-biology major Natalia Apffel is pledging Alpha Phi Omega, but this is her only commitment other than school. She likes the freedom she is given by purposefully not over-committing herself. “Being a first year and transitioning to college life can be tough, which is why I wanted to limit how much I got involved with in terms of clubs and such. It’s still difficult getting the hang of everything but I’m glad I found a support system and friends so quickly by joining a club.”        

Not being overly involved may have its disadvantages, but it can help you more than you think. If an emergency comes up and you are not super booked for the day, you’ll be able to tend to the emergency without having to worry about missing something important.       

We make choices every day even though we may not realize it. The choices you make can directly influence your college experience and your life in the real world. It’s nobody’s decision but yours to be over- or under-involved. Just remember that no matter what choice you make, you have the right and responsibility to weigh the risks and rewards.