At Maryville College, with its rigorous curriculum and high expectations, even students with a normal course load are continually stressed about classes, work and social lives. An average student’s day begins around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. in the morning and consists of classes, homework and a part-time job, as well as an activity or two in his or her nonexistent spare time.
While most students spend most of their college career in the library, one student who stands out and is known for his incredible involvement on campus is junior writing/communications major Garrett Painter.
Also known among his peers as “Mr. MC” or “that guy that’s in to everything,” Painter stands out among the MC population for many reasons. Painter’s involvement also raises questions among those who know him, such as how does he do it all? How in the world does he keep his sanity? Is he the modern day version of Superman? Painter is a student ambassador and member of the Ambassador Board of Directors, annual events team leader of the Student Programming Board, leader of the advertising committee for “Impressions” Literary Magazine, one of the two Keepers of the Covenant for the class of 2014, a writer for the Highland Echo and a tutor in the writing center.
As if all of his extra activity involvement on campus was not enough to keep anyone exhausted, Painter is also currently taking 18 credit hours and works a part-time job at Starbucks. “I’m constantly on the go from the time I wake up until I go to bed, which, sometimes, is around 2 or 3 in the morning,” Painter said. “I go to class, have meetings during my lunch break or have my SPB office hours during lunch, go back to class, usually have some type of meeting afterwards, go to work, come home and work on homework and then finally go to bed.”
As a junior with a writing/communication major and a minor in political science, many of his classes are major classes which means they are much more challenging than general education classes. Painter says he spends approximately 15-20 hours per week working on class assignments and projects. Solely with his involvement at MC, Painter stays busy, but also works a part-time job on top of that. A barista at Starbucks in Knoxville, his commute is 40 minutes between school and work, and he works an average of 25 hours per week. Usually, Painter said that he works the closing shift, which puts him getting back to MC after midnight on weekdays, except on weekends when he opens at 5:45 a.m.
The extremely early shifts and extremely late shifts are something Painter says he can look past, though.
“Being a barista is a nice part-time job and worth the extreme hours,” Painter said. “My manager will work around my class hours, and it’s really fun to learn all the different ways of coffee making. I really like that I get to meet so many new people on a daily basis, and my co-workers are really great, so it makes the long drive more bearable.”
As for the question of how does he organize his hectic life, Painter’s answer is simple. “I keep a planner that’s color coded by organization,” he said. “For example, my classes are red, SPB is purple, and then I have other colors for my other organizations.” Painter also takes advantage of his iPhone calendar and the notification function on it so that he is reminded about where he is supposed to be and when. As for his sanity, Painter says that sometimes being so involved and busy all the time bother him from time to time. “Sometimes when all of my organization’s have events that coincide and then I have my class work on top of that, I get extremely overwhelmed,” Painter said. “But I just have to remind myself to take a deep breath and suck it up because I have to get it all done.” Painter said that he relies heavily on his friends at times when he is overwhelmed.
“I constantly confide in my friends and complain to them when I’m stressed out,” Painter said. “Without their help and encouragement, I don’t know how I would be able to do all that I do.” When asked if he would change any aspect of his busy college life he said, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m pretty content with what’s on my plate.” The controversial question of how involved college students should be is not one that Painter hesitated to answer.
“I believe every college student should be super involved on campus,” Painter said. “You get to meet new people, gain life skills and boost your resume. You also learn to manage your time well, and you gain a sense of responsibility. Not to mention the fact that, at the end of the day, you feel so accomplished by all that you have been a part of.” Painter believes that being involved on campus helps make the transition from high school to college much easier, and it helps students to attain the “full college experience.”
“Get involved because it is possible to manage classes, a job and extracurricular activities without completely killing yourself,” Painter said. “Maryville College is a wonderful place to be, and it’s even better when you make lots of friends through involvement.” He said that his one piece of advice for busy students was to get a planner. “It will become your best friend!” Painter said. Painter, MC’s own Superman, can take 18 credit hours, be heavily involved with a multitude of organizations, work a part-time job and still make time for a social life. Painter did say, however, that he was still working on learning how to fly.