PU advocates commitment, prioritization

This weekend at RPI was dedicated to athletics. I hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to check out the breath-taking new facilities at the East Campus Athletic Village. If you haven’t yet, find an opportunity to head over at some point this semester as it opens, and utilize the workout facilities, enjoy a game hosted there, or have a snack and lounge around. Within a few weeks, the village will be completely up and running, providing a new, world-class aspect of student life to the campus. The theme of the weekend was the offering of the complete experience at Rensselaer, and there is no doubt that ECAV enhances opportunities for students on campus.

I’m an advocate for an enriching environment outside the classroom. In fact, that’s a large part of what the Rensselaer Union is about: students collaborating to provide themselves with activities, entertainment, and education that extends far beyond the lecture hall. At RPI, academics are just one aspect of the educational experience. Student life, including the Union and athletics, is just as important in developing well-rounded students.

If you were present at the ceremonies this past Saturday, you may have noticed that I was absent from the proceedings. Instead of representing RPI’s student body on the stage, I was doing it on the court at a tennis tournament in New Jersey. Due to the nature and high level of the tournament, the team’s results were not great, but the honor and opportunity to represent the school at this event were not forgotten. Naturally, the selection of which important event I should attend last weekend was not trivial, and the dynamics of the decision can be rolled into two processes that are extremely important for any successful college student: commitment and prioritization.

It’s easy to be overloaded in a school like RPI. Classes alone can be a challenge, but adding clubs, athletics, a job search, and other additional commitments can be difficult for even the most organized among us. It’s bad enough when there’s nonstop schoolwork. When two important events collide, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Commitment and prioritization are my suggestions for dealing with conflicts when they arise. When you take on an activity, figure out how important it is to you compared to everything that’s on your plate already. If you’re paying for school, you’ll probably want to give academics top priority. When you do that, make sure you also give the task your full commitment. If you value your studies the most, don’t do a sloppy job just because you’re busy. It is important to commit and put the energy and effort in to do a great job. It is better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly.

It can be a difficult balance between breadth and focus. I’m an advocate of both. It’s important to be well-rounded, but it’s also important to put enough energy and effort into your commitments. It really ends up being another one of life’s tradeoffs.

ECAV is bringing a welcome breath of fresh air to campus. At RPI, there is no doubt that we work hard. Take this as an opportunity to play hard, too.