Get involved. Be a leader. Work hard. Does any of this sound familiar? I feel that I have become a product of these phrases.

As a first-year, I came to Denison after recieving an award from my high school at commencement for consistent leadership and involvement in activities and clubs. It didn’t seem like there was much importance to the award, as long as I enjoyed being involved.

However, the leadership skills and knowledge I have gained during my time at Denison as a result of being over-involved have become somewhat bittersweet as I conclude the first semester of my senior year. I wonder and constantly question whether I took enough time for myself.

“Self-perseverance” would best describe how I feel. I acknowledge that the excitement I experience when leading meetings, attending/planning events, making purchases for an organization and the overall feeling of importance. Yet again I wonder, am I taking enough time for me?

Denison stresses student involvement, leadership and working hard. But there are times when academics and student activity involvement compete against each other. I only have classes two days throughout the week. Yes, it’s the dream of all seniors. However, it’s not as exciting as it sounds.

With my involvement with over ten organizations and being the president of two of them, I would go as far as to say that my involvement has become equivalent to another course. As a person who is passionate about everything I am involved in, my continuous goal is to contribute my influence to each organization that will cause it to flourish.

Nevertheless, as I began to reflect on my Denison experience, especially this semester, I have noticed that I have been overextending myself as it relates to my involvement on campus. On a campus where we are consumed by a busy nature, it becomes quite easy to lose one’s self. Recently, I have been working to de-stress due to my involvement on campus. The only two things I can credit to my success are my Christian faith and the relationships I have with my friends and family back home.

As a side note, I’m very disappointed that the only event that was meant to relieve the stressful nature at Dension for students has been taken away due to lack of funding. The Stress-Free Fair is an event that should take place every week if possible because there are so many students who make sacrifices on behalf of their involvement in activities on campus.

With that said, I would like to encourage all students to take time to watch a movie, play video games, go out and be social butterflies. Don’t allow any situation or anyone to knock you off your game. Everyone should understadn that confusion and dysfunction does not deserve attention. Our energy can be put toward ourselves and better tasks, rather than engaging with negativity.

This is a concept that I have chosen to adopt in the previous months because engagement with negativity is a total waste of time. I choose to put my energy toward objectives that will be both positively beneficial to myself as well as to those around me.

I hope all Denison students will have the opportunity to reflect and make changes that will create a better environment that is stress-free and will create change in the dynamics on campus as it relates to activity involvement and academics.