A tabling event at LMU EXP Fest last Saturday.

If this is your first year at LMU, you probably have a mountain of papers, pamphlets and promotional propaganda left over from EXP Fest, which took place last Saturday, Aug. 24 from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Every Saturday before the fall semester officially starts, all of LMU’s various student organizations pool into Sunken Garden for an afternoon of pitching fun opportunities to all students who walk by their table.

Do you care about immigrant rights? Join Resilience. Do you like improv comedy Audition for Laser Squad Bravo. Do you want to join a club sport? There are almost a dozen to choose from! Chances are, you probably found a lot of organizations that piqued your interest.

It’s also possible to get too involved with what LMU provides in its student organizations. Obviously, getting in-depth with your passion projects is laudable, but spreading yourself out too thin can be incredibly damaging to your time management skills, your social life and even your health.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s never a good idea to attach yourself to multiple groups unless you plan ahead. Last year, I signed up for several different activities, some of which I couldn’t put enough time or effort into for them to be worth it.

I just couldn't make room for potentially fun clubs like Jugglers Unite or Roleplayer’s Guild. Overcommitting myself also caused me stress due to missing out on other activities.

Prolonged stress correlates with a reduction in spatial and verbal memory. Learning can also be negatively impacted by high levels of stress, according to a 2017 study published in EXCLI Journal.

This stress isn’t just mentally taxing; it can take a physical toll too. That same study also revealed how stress is associated with illnesses such as Crohn’s disease.

Stress should be considered as important to a healthy life as diet and exercise. Especially now, it’s crucial for college students to watch how their stress is impacting their relationships, their goals and themselves.

Stress among college students has become arguably been worse than ever due to a variety of factors, and that can have real consequences. A 2018 study by Cindy H. Liu, which analyzed 67,000 college students, revealed that one in five students have thought about committing suicide.

I’m not trying to freak you out with these statistics, but I do want to remind you that your mental health is a major priority. You should definitely try things while you’re here, but just be sure you still feel mentally healthy.

If this is your first year at LMU, feel free to explore what’s offered at your own pace. Don’t feel forced to join a bunch of organizations and don’t stretch yourself across a bunch of clubs if you don’t have the time for it.

I’d encourage you to look through all of the organizations you swiped into with your OneCard or got promotional material from and make some time to sort it. Organize them by priority and desire, and see if they still intrigue you after your first week at LMU.

Review your class and work schedules and make sure you have the space for them. Have time left over for meals, exercise and rest.

This is the opinion of Cristobal Spielmann, a sophomore environmental science major from Brentwood, Tennessee. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email editor@theloyolan.com.

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