IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Balancing curricular and extracurricular interests provides a life lesson
This is a continuation of the Student Perspective series following freshman Ryan Zerfoss through his first academic year. As he makes his way into the second half of the semester, he balances academic and personal interests and builds focus on his goals.
Students are approaching fall break, midterms are nearly at an end and finals are a mere six weeks away. Ryan Zerfoss has experienced detours and triumphs, and is solidifying his goals as the semester continues.
In the previous installment, Ryan expressed an interest in becoming a member of the Core Leadership Program (CLP) sponsored by CU GOLD, and began to work toward that goal in mid October. Ryan also had committed to playing on an intramural soccer team, which he organized early in September. His team was nearing the end of their season as CLP began preparing their new group for the program – a clash of interests that Ryan needed to resolve. "I had already committed to being the captain of my soccer team, and then I realized there was a conflict with my other commitment to CLP," Ryan said.
The Core Leadership Program's semester retreat in October required attendance from program participants. Commitment to the program includes the weekend retreat, weekly meetings with the entire group, a community service project and a presentation on leadership. Meanwhile, Ryan's soccer team, "The Cin" or "hc" as the members call themselves, showed promise of bringing home a first place trophy in the playoff tournament, scheduled on the same weekend in October as the CLP retreat.
"I had to make an important decision," said Ryan. "I decided that I should stand true to my first commitment and see that through. It was hard to tell CLP that I couldn't participate this semester."
Ryan led "The Cin" to second place in the tournament, and has decided to reapply to CLP in the spring of 2008.
Currently, his focus is on completing a research paper for a sociology class spotlighting United States bureaucracy and its effects on the working middleclass, and finishing some drafting projects for his environmental design class. This is the time of year when students begin to feel weighed down with the pressures of an ending semester. Project due dates become hauntingly nearer, term and research paper requirements are at their peak and students' stress levels skyrocket. Ryan finds physical activity to be a beneficial stress-reducer. "Now that soccer is finished, I play basketball at the Rec Center," he said. "Reality TV helps a lot, too. It makes me forget about my own reality."
Like many students, faculty and staff, Ryan is looking forward to the winter ski season. He's also gearing up for the next round of intramural sports, contemplating expanding into basketball in addition to soccer next spring.Ryan said he's excited about the upcoming semester. He registered for spring classes on Nov. 8 and is looking forward to his new schedule, which mainly consists of core classes for his architecture degree. Ryan wants to complete his core classes so that he'll have a strong foundation for the more focused classes that await him in the future. He is adapting well to his new life as a CU-Boulder student, making important and sometimes difficult decisions, learning what it is to be a dependable leader and looking to his future with confidence
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