Most people learn how to prioritize in high school. And, once you get used to that work load, you graduate - and it's off to college, where the work load changes again.
On the drive to Lycoming College, I thought about what I did when I was back in high school. I was discussing with my parents what they thought what clubs and activities I would join and they both thought I should run for the job of class president.
I laughed. In high school, it was easy to participate in student government and plan senior trips, prom and other activities. But I never saw myself as a college president, dealing with freshmen issues and the obligations that come with the job.
Well, I gave the idea some serious thought and ran for Class of 2012 President - and won! After this accomplishment, I felt like I could do anything.
And I did exactly that, joining five more clubs in my first semester. I joined the Dance Club and took four classes, which each lasted about an hour. After participating in Dance Club, I added American Marketing Association, Spanish Club, Campus Activities Board and other clubs as well.
I had a lot on my plate as a freshman with four classes and all these new activities. But I was having so much fun and so excited to go home and tell everyone my accomplishments.
After the first semester, I decided to find something new in my life. I was interested in Greek Life, so after looking into all the sororities on campus I decided to join Alpha Sigma Tau. After been accepted and starting my new member process, I felt amazing.
In the beginning of my sophomore year, I was nominated to the Parliamentarian position on the Executive Board for the Lycoming Student Senate, which was a great honor. But now I had more responsibilities and obligations to uphold.
I continued to join more clubs and hold more positions in previous clubs. During this semester I was taking four academic classes, a gym class and a colloquium for my major.
To add on more obligations, I also was working at a job on campus. This was the first time in my life that I felt like my life was out of control.
Someone in my position would probably figure out what they wanted to do and stop adding new things, but I did the total opposite: I decided to take on more clubs and positions.
I was getting by with a 3.0 grade-point average after my fall semester as a sophomore, so I thought that the winter break would help me organize the different components of my life. But after returning to campus, it did not calm down.
I finally had a complete breakdown - almost quitting everything that I worked so hard to accomplish.
But during this mental breakdown, one faculty member reminded me to prioritize and remember what comes first in life and work down the ladder.
I felt like all this frustration and aggravation was for nothing, but then I realized this was a great life lesson.
Even though I learned how to prioritize and manage my time in high school, I never applied those skills to college.
Although there were rough times during the semester, I realized I am happy I did not end up quitting. I'm proud that I am learning to make it through the ups and downs of college.
McConnell is a student at Lycoming College.