School is stressful and studying is a hassle. It's always nice to get away from the books and get involved in extracurricular activities. Clubs, sports teams, and student organizations are great ways to participate in student life on campus. These time commitments help us become more engaged in the campus community and more educated members of our school.
Personally, I'm the kind of student who needs other activities in my day to structure my day. Commitments to clubs or various activities forces me to get my work done while I can and prevents procrastination. Most students succeed with a more rigid daily schedule. Plus, joining things helps you meet new people and become more comfortable on campus, especially as an underclassmen.
Of course on benefit of many types of student groups is that it looks good on your resume and future employers might find it attractive. Because of this, students might not always seek out these clubs for all the benefits listed above, but rather because they want another thing to add to their resume. This may become problematic if it causes students to constantly seek out new things to say they're involved with. It also may make them feel like they NEED to join more clubs.
As a student who loves to stay busy and doesn't know what to do with too much time on my hands, I fall into the trap of getting involved with too many things. Recently, however I have had a lot more time on my hands and am in the process of finding things I'm interested in doing. That's mostly because I stopped competing in a varsity sport that previously took up 20 hours of my week. With my newfound free schedule, I got into the mindset of feeling lazy because I have "nothing to do." (Despite the fact that I'm involved in several student groups on campus already.) then I realized - is taking time to find out what I'm interested in doing before jumping head on into 20 clubs a bad thing? Or, do I have a misconceived idea of how much I "need to be doing?"
I think this mindset is very common. Students join a long laundry list of clubs or activities because they feel like they need to fill up every second of their life. Or they have trouble saying no to a new opportunity so they just say yes to everything that comes their way. Or - they may even feel they're competing with everyone around them so if they don't join the most things or have the highest positions they won't "win".
The biggest reason why I think this is an issue is it detracts from students overall mental health and well being. If we are constantly chasing this life filled with responsibilities and obligations in college - how will this set the precedent for what we do later on in life? Will we become perpetual- over-committers? Will we always have trouble saying no to joining everything? Worse- will we always feel guilty giving ourselves time to relax? Will we never allow ourselves a few seconds to think about what we want to do or what we truly enjoy, instead of jumping in to a million things?
Extracurriculars are great, and at Penn there are so many amazing clubs and student groups. But sometimes it's nicer to pick one or two things to dedicate our time to and to become invested in those. Rather than littering our schedule with too many time commitments and coming up short everywhere.