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California State University, Long Beach
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Elizabeth Crepps

Balancing Opportunities

Partners Student Assistant and Graduating Senior

E ducation has always been my focus. I am attending CSULB on a merit scholarship and am expected to maintain high academic standards. Regardless of the requirements of my scholarship, doing well in my classes has always struck me as a critical part of my university experience. When I entered as a freshman, I knew I wished to continue studying beyond a bachelor’s degree, but had only vague ideas of what I would study. What was clear to me, though, was that the surest, and perhaps only, way to keep my options open was to succeed in my undergraduate work.

It did not take me long to realize that simply attending classes would not provide me with a full experience. The university setting is uniquely and wonderfully suited to allow students the chance to become involved in the campus community in a number of ways depending on their individual needs, interests and talents.

Walking past Week of Welcome my first fall, the Law Society caught my attention. Four years later, I am in my eighth semester as a member and my fourth semester as an officer. The Law Society proved to be a wonderful opportunity for me to explore law and develop leadership and numerous other skills that serve me well in other organizations. I also joined the English Students Association my first year. By my second year, I had become president, more of necessity than by choice, because there was no one else willing to take on the position. I had to quickly learn the ins and outs of planning events on campus, mostly through trial and error, as the group had no veterans to guide me. ESA took a lot of my time, but it was worth it. Without the work of the few of us who were involved, readings and other such events would cease to occur. This alone was incentive enough for me to continue even in the face of low membership.

I have worked as an external reader, a student assistant for Student Life and Development and a student assistant for the Partners program. Trying to fit my work hours into a schedule already full of classes and meetings has always been a challenge and requires a great deal of time management. Having to juggle my varied responsibilities required me to establish priorities to ensure that important tasks were completed. School has always taken precedence, but sometimes I've had to put my book down and be president of ESA for an hour or two before going back to being a student.

I was very fortunate that my employment was with on-campus departments that understand and sympathize with the needs of students; this greatly eased the difficulties of balancing everything. Simply being a college student presented me with myriad chances to become involved in various activities. It was very important to take advantage of these opportunities, but I also had to be careful not to overdo it. Taking on new obligations and responsibilities was part of this time of my life, but having so many options also brought the need to learn how to manage them.

After graduation, I will be spending the next three years studying at Harvard Law School. I expect that law school will be a challenge unlike any other I have yet faced, but I believe the skills I have learned at The Beach have prepared me well, and I look forward to applying them in the next phase of my education.