By Garrett Taliaferro
Throughout my visits as a Province President, one of the issues that came up often when speaking with undergraduate members and officers was maintaining or creating a balanced life. College and life in general present many challenges, including demands on your time, energy and relationships. I’ve said this on many occasions that Phi Delta Theta is a part of your life, it should never BECOME your life. Here is some practical advice:
1. Make Time for Yourself – While scheduling and planning all the things you need to do throughout the term and academic year, don’t forget to make time for yourself. Make sure to schedule time to relax, exercise, indulge yourself and have fun! It’s easy to forget with all the pressures from school, fraternity, family, etc that you need special care in order to be your best. So plan to give yourself good, quality time — not just what is left over at the end of the day.
2. Prioritize – Don’t sweat the “small stuff” in life! Be sure to review your priorities often to be sure they are in-sync your goals and values. Keep focused on the important things in life such like your family, your education, your friendships, etc. Don’t get sidetracked by dwelling on issues that don’t necessitate the attention given.
3. Do Your Best – Stop comparing yourself to your peers which in many cases leaves you feeling inadequate. Focus on doing your best. When you do well or when you do your best, people notice. Whether you realize it or not, you are always being evaluated by your professors, teachers, administrators and even potential employers. The key is to knowing and being satisfied with doing your best; perfection is unattainable on earth anyway.
4. Set Realistic Goals – If you set goals that are too high, you’ll end up wearing yourself out, feeling frustrated and disappointed in yourself or others for not achieving goals. If you set your goals too low, you’ll have too much time on your hands and feel empty when you achieve your goals. The goals you set should be a bit of stretch, but not so much that you can’t achieve them. Consider setting goals for yourself — not only for your chapter, but for other aspects of campus life. And remember not to let others influence your goals.
5. Simplify – It seems human nature for just about everyone to take on too many tasks and responsibilities, to try to do too much and to try and please too many people. What you need to do is look for ways to simplify your life. Change your lifestyle. Delegate responsibilities and trust will be get done. Learn to say NO — it’s sometimes a hard thing to do, but sometimes you need to do it to protect yourself.
6. Ask for Help – One of the great things about college and being in a fraternity is that you have access to all sorts of help — you typically can turn to your professors, fraternity brothers, advisors, leadership consultant, alumni, health clinic, and counseling center for the assistance you need. Do not be afraid to ask for help — and seek that assistance as early as you can! Don’t be embarrassed; we all need help at times, and that’s why both college institution and Phi Delta Theta have these resources available to you.