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How I Write and Learn

In this blog series, “Ask a Coach!” our Writing and Learning Center coaches answer our UNC-CH undergrads’ burning questions! Check out what our coaches have to say about everything from taking breaks to utilizing office hours! 

I want to get more involved on campus, but am worried about it cutting into my study time? What can I do to get more involved but still balance my time?

Megan: There are so many amazing ways to get involved on campus. Throughout my time at UNC, I have been involved in a plethora of clubs and opportunities from dance teams, to research positions, to student government. While engaging in these spaces has helped me forge connections and grow as an individual, I have also had to learn a lot about how to balance time for extracurriculars, school, and ultimately, myself. My advice would be to start small. Find a club on campus that truly interests you, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to opportunities that may come about. I have learned that I cannot truly engage in my extracurriculars if I do not have time for myself. I have learned to be practical in the time I set aside for extracurriculars and studying, making sure to always schedule in time for food, sleep, and relaxation (I am not fun when I am hangry).


Alyssa: When it comes to balancing coursework and extracurricular activities, my advice is to make sure you figure out what your biggest priorities are. It’s tempting to get involved in a bunch of different activities in your freshman year, but I found out the hard way in my first semester how easy it is to overextend yourself. Instead of trying to do everything at once, pick a couple activities that you’re really passionate about to get involved in and see how those balance with your workload. Once you get a feel for how much time your commitments take up, you can choose to add or drop extracurriculars and decide how to adjust your future course load to make space for your favorite activities.


Nikki: For me, it helped to set limits on myself from the start of how many things I was going to get involved in but still not to stifle what I was able to explore. This meant going to tons of interest meetings and joining even more list-servs but ultimately limiting myself to only joining a few organizations at the end of the search process no matter how many interested me. I also recommend not being afraid to quit. There were some things I realized didn’t really interest me all that much after a few months. Doing so can allow you to invest your time where you’re much more passionate and take on leadership roles rather than spreading yourself thin in things you only enjoy half-heartedly. As an added bonus, I also find that a lot of my campus involvements help me as a student. For example, my time in the Honor System has helped my writing, research, and presentation skills and being a peer tutor helps me stay sharper on some of my major’s foundational courses. While extracurriculars don’t have to go hand and hand in with academics, the two also don’t have to be mutually exclusive. 


This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach, a peer tutor, or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.

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