Why It's Okay To Take A Break From What You Love

I arrived at college with a strict four-year education plan organized in my head and fueled by a desire to be good and successful at what I loved to do.

I guess in some aspects the previous statement is a positive one. After all, we come to college to learn and better ourselves as humans. Therefore having a strong ambition and desire to make your dreams come true appears to be the ideal mentality to have when going to college.

But it isn’t.

I feel that this generation of college students feels this immense pressure to really know what they want and to go after it with as much vigor as they can muster. There’s this invisible competition to be the best at whatever you do, no matter what your area of study is. Simultaneously, there can be this fear that, if you’re not good enough at what you want to do, you won’t be able to do it as your career. This was the fear that I had all of freshman year and it was this anxiety that drove my overall ambition as a student.

When we center our entire lives around one specific thing, even if it’s something we love, we become obsessed with our successes and failures because it’s the only thing we allow ourselves to know. Your complete sense of self-worth and self-confidence rests on how much you know and how well you can prove yourself in any activity related to your field of interest. Eventually, a student can develop anxiety and lose their sense of confidence and the thing that once gave you happiness now takes every other ounce of happiness away from you.

Taking some time and stepping back from something you love or are determined to go after can be uncomfortable and very stressful. It’s not easy to say “no” to something you love but sometimes it’s necessary. A student’s overall health and own sense of self-worth should always be valued more than what a student can do. After all, we’re still students and we’re still trying to learn about ourselves. Taking a step back from what you love allows you to breathe again and focus on yourself as an individual overall, not just on your career as a future lawyer, a future actress, or even as a future educator.

So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, take a step back and try to focus on yourself for a bit. Re-visit old interests, spend some time with family, or maybe travel if you have the resources. You don’t have to completely divorce what you love but you should never let what you love control your life. You are a unique individual and you should be allowed to appreciate and enjoy every aspect of yourself and your interests. Just give yourself the space to do so.