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Shifting from Drake Busy to Drake Balanced

Photo by Mohamed Hassan | Pixabay

Anybody who has spent time on Drake University’s campus has heard the term “Drake Busy.” Drake Busy is a phenomenon affecting Drake students who find themselves over involved in campus organizations, sometimes to the extent that it impacts their mental health. 

“I feel like I’m doing more extra credit stuff than I am school stuff sometimes,” first-year Zoe Zillgitt said. 

Zillgitt is a Division I athlete on the Drake rowing team, a member of the social sorority Delta Gamma and the professional women’s music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, and a trumpet player in Drake’s marching, pep and concert bands.

Zillgitt said she never thought she would get to the point where her life became the epitome of Drake Busy, but she found several activities she can’t imagine life without.

“There’s nothing I want to drop because I love all the things I’m doing,” Zillgitt said.

Senior Dylan Gadberry said he had similar sentiments when he began at Drake but has learned the importance of setting boundaries and being willing to cut some things out.

“Be conscious of your capacity,” Gadberry said. “Prioritize what you find important.”

Gadberry is part of Campus Fellowship and the male acapella group the Brocal Chords in addition to being a tutor in the actuarial science lab and a resident assistant.

He said he first heard about Drake Busy before he even enrolled at the University.

“I feel like it was a thing people talked about a lot when I was visiting Drake and probably when I first got here,” Gadberry said. “It was something my tour guides talked about.”

Former student ambassador and current admissions fellow Amina Marquart said the Drake Busy culture comes up often during tours and student visits.

“When [prospective] students are coming to Drake, the people showing them around are telling them right off the bat [about] all [the] different things [they’re] involved in. The shortest [list] I’ve heard is three things,” Marquart said. 

Marquart said potential students’ interest in Drake Busy is mixed. Some are thrilled by the prospect of continuing to do the things they did in high school, but others are apprehensive about the pressure to join things right away. Parents share their students’ feelings.

“We have parents who are like, ‘That seems like a lot. How do people get into these things? How soon are they doing it?’” Marquart said.

The admissions office is following the University’s attempts to shift the culture from Drake Busy to Drake Balanced.

“[Drake Busy] is obviously still said a lot just because it’s part of Drake culture, but a big focus has been put on how you manage [it] all,” Marquart said. “Yes, we do all these things, but here’s how we’re able to [do it].”

Students say the key to maintaining Drake Balanced is choosing your priorities and finding little pockets of time for yourself.

“Sometimes, a little speedy quick nap gets you through [the day],” Zillgitt said.


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