It’s about that time during Fall semester when we all start to lose our minds. The reality of final exams and the end of the semester is looming over us, and the fate of our final grades hangs in the balance of how the next few weeks goes. Needless to say, every student within the general vicinity of UF right now is stressed beyond belief.
With stress comes a slew of unfavorable reactions. Some people push away those close to them or lash out to their friends. Others neglect their self care and severely skimp on sleep and exercise. A number of people will just completely shut down. The reactions most of us have to stress isn’t enjoyable or healthy. The worst part about it is that we do it to ourselves.
College classes are hard enough. But when you tack on clubs, Greek life, part-time jobs, honor societies and internships like nearly all of us do, things get worse. Most of the semester is a struggle. We find ourselves struggling to finish everything we need to do in just a 24-hour period. Nonetheless, we somehow manage to get everything done. This provides us with the illusion that we have it all together when the truth is we don’t. When we add on even one more thing, like a difficult exam, we run out of time.
This is why we need to cut back.
So many of us are doing things we don’t actually care about. A lot of what we are involved in as upperclassmen are things that once meant a great deal to us, but now pale in comparison to new developments. Despite this, we remain involved in them, and we continue to move up in the ranks, assuming more and more responsibility, even if we don’t have the capacity to devote the necessary time and energy that the position demands.
This oversaturation can lead to one of two things. The first is that as you start to add on more important responsibilities in your life, you begin neglecting the old ones. You might remain in the organization or maintain your title, but you aren’t putting in the effort you need to. The second is that you burn out. You try too hard to devote 100 percent of yourself to everything you’re involved in and quickly find that it is a physically impossible task.
This is why, dear reader, we need to stop wasting our time on things that we don’t really care about. We need to consider if our classes are hard because the material is challenging or because we aren’t interested in what we are learning in our major. We need to consider if we are slacking off in our leadership positions because we no longer care about the club we’ve been a part of since an older member handed us a flyer at an involvement fair freshman year. We need to consider if the only reason we remain in an organization we once loved is because we feel guilty for leaving it. We need to consider if it’s worth it to stretch ourselves so thin that we have barely an ounce of energy left for our classes and for our self-care.
We need to realize it is perfectly all right to let go of things we have grown out of. It’s OK to quit clubs. It’s OK to say no to a leadership position you’ve been groomed for throughout college. It’s OK to drop out of an organization that no longer benefits you or makes you happy. It’s OK to admit you just don’t care.
If we are going to make it through this semester and every other semester to come, we need to recognize the importance of prioritizing. If we continue to stretch ourselves too thin, we will eventually snap. We need to start preventing this inevitable snap before it happens and make choices that benefit us.