“I thought my resume was more important than my actual life.”

You’re allowed to say no when you’re in over your head.

I Wish I Knew is a series of personal essays written by the courageous young female ambassadors of UChic. Learn how to survive and thrive during your freshman year from girls who have been through it.

This week we are featuring UChic blogger and ambassador Cheyenne Krieger. Krieger is a student at the University of Cincinnati.

You’re allowed to say no when you’re in over your head.

You’re allowed to say no when you’re in over your head.

You’re a freshman on campus and there are so many opportunities – great classes, clubs, organizations, internships, and jobs (Just to name a few!). It’s okay to say no and to not overcommit.

I arrived at the University of Cincinnati with an impressive track record – a girl who was involved in clubs, sports, part-time jobs, and had a brain to seal the deal. All of that was behind me, though. I looked around and realized I had nothing here – nothing to claim as mine. I got scared.

So, like the type-A person I am, I signed up for everything I could get my hands on. I met with my advisor and enrolled in eighteen credit hours. When he asked if I was sure I wanted to take 3000-level courses as a first semester freshman, I looked back at him with the incredulous stare. I had never not accomplished what she set out to do. Sign me up, sir.

I went to the clubs and organizations fair, walked among the tables, and wrote my name down for 10+ clubs – old habits die hard, you guys. I applied for an ambassador program with Intern Queen and I started writing for major publications like USA Today’s college section. I signed up for community service outings and social events and scholarship meetings – I did it all.

I wish I knew my freshman year that it was okay not to overcommit. I wish I knew I could have said no. While participating in all of these clubs, organizations, ambassador programs, and internships have taught me invaluable experience that will make me a better candidate for a job out of college, they also taught me that I need to take it easy sometimes.

I spent a lot of my freshman year stressing out over deadlines, class expectations, my grades, whether or not I had the right amount of community service and club engagement – the list goes on. I cried more often that I would like to admit and I called my best friend and complained more than she would have liked. I sacrificed a normal amount of sleep, daily workouts, and balanced meals because I was constantly worrying about everything on my planner.

I wish I knew then what I know now – that it is okay not to overcommit. It is perfectly acceptable to devote most of my time to my studies and one or two clubs, maybe an internship as well. I wish I knew then that it was pointless to keep myself stressed out to the point of physical and mental strain just because I thought my resume was more important than my actual life.

I finished my freshman year with another impressive track record – Dean’s list, club engagement, marketing with ambassador programs, etc. – and wishing the next three years were nothing like the first.

I am grateful for my freshman year experience. I learned that signing up for everything on campus – and off – is not the smartest choice. If you’re like me and you want to get ahead, do so, but don’t overcommit. Stay focused on your education. Have a couple of meaningful experiences that don’t overshadow your life as a freshman. Learn to say no when you’re in over your head and learn to gauge what is truly important to you.


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