Being a student (especially a College of Design) one often means hectic schedules and trying to squeeze every last hour out of your work day. Believe it or not it's possible to fit even more into that schedule and I would highly recommend it. I myself was a part of the University of Minnesota Men's Soccer Club (http://www.tc.umn.edu/~soccer/)
team for the past three years, took part in various College of Design Events (http://www.design.umn.edu/calendar/) and am a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects Student Chapter (http://asla-mn.org/).
These various involvements I've had have served as simply as a way of relaxing and getting my mind off of classes or as networking opportunities. More than once my involvement in extracurricular activities has led to some sort of employment (hello blogging!). This brings me to my next thought that goes hand in hand with being involved... Time Management!
As great and rewarding as being involved can be its also important to keep a good schedule. I find it helpful to write out my schedule by full months. That way I can map out due dates for projects and know when I have tough weeks ahead so that I can try to work ahead of time to make that week more bearable. This is also what makes it possible to get involved in some of the activities I mentioned above. I also like to think that just one hour of getting involved in any way will save me two hours in the future. An example of this would be applying for jobs. First you have to look for one, find a few your interested in, apply, wait for a response, interview, wait again for a response, and then hopefully you get the position. If not you start the process all over again. Whereas, maybe an hour spent volunteering somewhere allows you to make a contact with an organization that in a few months ends up having an opening and they remember that guy or girl they had volunteer and what a great candidate they think that person might be.
So take it from me, getting involved is always worth it (not to mention you usually get free food!)
...till next time,
- Eric Maass