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How to Find Balance in a “Doing the Most” Culture

By Marni Zipper ’19 |

The following post is republished from The Emerson Blog.

It’s no secret that Emerson students go the extra mile for a creative challenge, always working on some amazing new project and getting heavily involved with about a dozen extracurriculars. It’s not unusual to see an Emerson student take on a full course load, commit to a leadership role with a campus organization, and squeeze in a film shoot—all before they run to their part-time job or internship.

This “doing the most” culture is something that sets us apart—but we have to remember that, sometimes, it’s O.K. to take a step back.

Remember that while it’s great to be involved with a different activities and interests, prioritizing will help you stay sane. Whether you’re a first-year student or a seasoned Emerson expert, I wanted to share some tips on how to stay involved with the activities you care about most, while still giving yourself a little extra time to breathe every now and then.

1. Stick to what you love!

Emma Weeks
Emma Weeks ’18

Try not to add something to your already-crowded plate just because a few friends are involved with it. Commit to interest groups and orgs on campus if you are truly passionate about the mission of these groups…and of course it doesn’t hurt to have friends involved, too!

Media Studies major Emma Weeks ‘18 says, “I’ve found if I focus on my classes and academics first and foremost and organize some time for myself, then my other activities kind of fall into place. Of course, it’s also motivating to be involved in all sorts of things on campus because everyone is, but I don’t let the busy culture […] dictate what I’m involved in. I do it because I love it all!”

Emma works in the marketing department at ArtsEmerson, while also working as a peer tutor at the Writing Center and co-facilitating Choices classes at the Health and Wellness center once a month.

2. Take time to pursue your own creative projects.

Jack Federman
Jack Federman ’18

Sometimes we get so bogged down with classwork, events for on-campus orgs, and working part-time that we forget to make time for our own personal goals. Even if the short film, script, photoshoot, or piece of choreography you want to create is not affiliated with a class or club, it is so important to make time for your own ideas. Being able to create and express yourself through any creative medium allows you to decompress from the daily grind or take a break from daily stressors.

Visual Media Arts major Jack Federman ‘18 says, “I am working on things that actually mean something to me. I no longer work out of feeling like I have to work and accomplish something, but rather I can create new projects because I have the free time to finally commit to my own ideas and projects.”

This semester Jack is currently at the Emerson Los Angeles campus pursuing an internship with a small LA-based record label, Dome of Doom. His responsibilities include working with the head of the label to edit and create music videos for the music released under the Dome of Doom label. Prior to his semester at Emerson Los Angeles, Jack was the operations manager for Emerson’s very own WECB-FM.

3. Talk about your priorities.

Annie Mashberg
Annie Mashberg ’19

Whether you’re consulting your mom via FaceTime or getting the opinions of your best friends over coffee, it is important to lay out your priorities and determine which goals, activities, and events are most important to you. Your time is valuable, and college breezes by in the blink of an eye. Involve yourself in things that provide you with learning opportunities and advancement while also helping you create a path for success post-graduation.

Marketing and Communications major Annie Mashberg ‘19 says, “I’m currently a full-time student while working as a student content ambassador for Emerson’s Office of Marketing and as the marketing director for the BFA project American Woman. I do all of this because I am really trying to get firsthand experience for the future. I really feel it is important to have hands-on experiences that serve as a tool for learning the industry and that give me a more competitive edge when looking for jobs post-grad.”

(American Woman is a thesis film being directed by Emerson student Kathleen Anderson, and created by a predominantly female cast and crew of students with various majors at Emerson, in order to fulfill a BFA degree.)

4. Remember: it is OK to cancel.

Being overwhelmed doesn’t lead to productivity. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take some time for yourself. Your bed and your favorite Netflix show can be a priority, too. Once in a while, having extra plans with friends on a Saturday night feels more stressful than relaxing. If it comes to that point, remember that it is OK to cancel and stay home. (We all love a good face mask and TV show binge!) Never feel remorse about making your well-being the utmost priority.

Now that I’m in my last semester at Emerson, I’ve really decided that my time is valuable, and I have very clear priorities for how I want to use my time, or who I want to spend it with. Whether it be spent with loved ones and supportive friends, solely focusing on both my mental and physical health, working extra hours so that I can feel just a little more financially secure when I graduate, or just simply taking time to binge-watch something at home, I feel my time is not to be spent feeling anxious about something I don’t really want to do.


Marni Zipper is a Marketing Communications major in Emerson’s class of 2019. Her professional goal is to combine her marketing skills with her passion for women’s rights advocacy. “I’d like to create marketing content and strategies based around equality and justice for all girls and women,” she says. 

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