Christina Bonke and Elliott Poppel are no strangers to a packed schedule. Both Northeastern students, they’re members of Northeastern’s peer leadership program, Lead 360, which enables students to teach other students effective leadership skills in free weekly nighttime courses. This evening, as part of that program, they presented “The Juggling Act,” an interactive lecture aimed at teaching students effective methods of work/life balance.
“Depending on the student, we have our classes, our co-op … we constantly have the expectations of our teachers and advisers and peers to get our work done in an efficient and timely manner,” said Bonke. “I’ve had tons of personal issues that needed time juggling.”
During the interactive presentation, students were divided into groups and asked to participate in a number of activities, including brainstorms on effective ways to prioritize urgent activities versus non-urgent activities. In the beginning of the presentation, Poppel gathered several of the students into a circle and threw juggling balls at them, one ball for each metaphorical life issue that could pop up unexpectedly, such as a family illness or pop quiz. By the time he’d thrown the third ball into the circle, the students were unable to juggle all three of the metaphorical speed bumps.
Senior Bethany Klose remembers a time in her Northeastern career when this juggle seemed all too real:
“Probably my most stressed was when I was on co-op and working 40+ hours a week and having to show I was interested in learning and wanting to grow on that co-op .. and also being president and having to do graduate plans,” says Klose, the former president of Northeastern’s Delta Zeta sorority. “Coming right into classes was a little exhausting, I already feel a little burnt out.”
Sarah Decker, the director of Fraternity and Sorority life at Northeastern, says she regularly faces burn-out from her hectic schedule as well. A supporter of the Lead 360 program, she says tonights presentation was a sure help to anyone struggling with balance:
“I think the biggest benefit of this program is that students can learn leadership skills from other students,” explains Decker. “There are multiple levels of learning going on because the leadership consultants themselves learn from putting together the presentation and gathering the material.”
Bonke, the presentation leader, agrees with Decker: “Even though we were the ones doing this, we had a lot to gain from the interactions.”
Why are Norteastern students’ schedules so jam-packed? Middler John Ross Hubbard says it’s impossible for them not to be.
“I don’t think its because of co op,” said Hubbard, “I think its because northeastern has so many opportunities available that you can’t help but get involved.”
Rachel Staudt, a Northeastern senior, says her issues with time management aren’t baffling:
“I’m just a procrastinator … I know what I have to do, it’s just a matter of making time to do it.”