Monday, October 11, 2010

How NOT to Get Overextended at College! Guest Post For
The College Survival Handbook

Being Pulled In 10 Different Directions? Learn How To Say N-O!

It’s easy to feel overextended in college. A typical Bachelor’s degree only lasts four short years, and you want to immerse yourself in every experience and opportunity possible. You’re accepting invitations to join athletic teams, attend club meetings, campus student leadership opportunities, internships, campus and community service activities, and oh, you also have your college classes and homework! Saying “yes” to all of these invitations is easy, isn’t it? But when it comes to being an active part of each activity, well, that starts to get a lot more difficult as they all demand a portion of your time and energy. You want to give each interest
the attention it deserves, but there are only so many hours in the day and you only have so much energy to spare.

One of the most valuable lessons you’ll learn in college is how to say no, politely. Saying no to an invitation while ensuring the activity or person understands that you have their best intentions in mind is a skill you’ll master in time, and we’re here to help!

Yes, M’am!
You’ve been wanting to be a part of a fraternity or sorority since long before you even stepped foot on a college campus, and you’ve just been asked to be a part of one. You want to say yes, but you also are on your college’s lacrosse team and have a heavy course load. Could you really fit it in?

Yes. In this example, you’ve been wanting this experience for quite awhile, and you can’t let it slip out of your fingertips. Instead, adjust your schedule to accommodate it – you may be even happier by having finally obtained this experience, allowing you to better handle the stress of a busy college life. You may need to put aside a few nights a week to study and finish your homework, rather than watch your usual tv shows those nights, but if it is an invitation that you’ve been genuinely hoping for, make the time for it, and you’ll be glad you did in the long run.

No, Thank You!
You’ve networked with the professors in your area of study, as well as local businessmen and women. You’re carrying a heavy course load this semester, and between your academics, part-time job, and assisting in community service activities that you truly enjoy, you have little time for yourself. Yet, a local business woman has just contacted you and asked if you’d like to be an intern at her organization this semester. You’ve heard the internship looks alright on a resume, but doesn’t provide as much experience as you’d like from an internship. But could saying no put an end to future internship opportunities?

Not if you know how to say no the right way. Instead of not returning her email or phone call or simply saying “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m too busy”, construct a thoughtful response. If you need to write it down before you call her, that’s fine! Your response should first thank her for providing you with this opportunity, and then note that although it sounds great, you do need to decline this time as a result of your heavy course load this semester and commitment to excelling in your academics. However, if any future opportunities should arise, to please keep you in mind. You’re showing her that you’re responsible enough to have put thought into her invitation, and made a mature decision. You included a genuine, concrete reason for declining, which shows respect for the person dedicating time to asking you.

What are some situations where you had to politically decline? Share your experiences with us! And remember; when it comes time to accepting an invitation into a fraternity or sorority, say yes to for your Sorority Apparel, Fraternity Apparel, and Greek Merchandise!