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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Just like the many ambitious women who precede me, and what I’m sure will be many to follow, I have bitten off more than I can chew. University has presented me with the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects, both related and unrelated to my future career. Being the zealous person that I am, I want to be involved in all of it. The unfortunate truth that I have come to terms with is that I can’t. It’s draining and time-consuming: it prevents you from seeing your friends and having time for yourself. This semester has been incredibly trying and it’s not because my classes are harder. It’s due to the realization that everything I do from here on out pertains directly to my career in combination with the increasingly raised expectations I hold myself to. Even as I pile more on my plate, I find myself searching for more opportunities, writing down internship listings and research positions. Something’s got to give. The biggest learning curve I have faced in college is understanding and abiding by my limits every time I feel the urge to clock more hours or pick up another class. 

Another lesson I have learned is that this experience is far from rare. All of my friends are members of multiple clubs and student organizations, taking upper-level courses and still searching for further involvement. We find motivation in knowing it will pay off with an acceptance to graduate school or a high-paying career but fail to recognize how our over-involvement can hasten burnout. Nothing has become more apparent to me in the last nine weeks than the importance of knowing how to juggle my various involvements. I seek advice from the people in my classes and club and my professors and TAs. As a result, I have come across a fountain of knowledge about maintaining your competitive edge while enjoying college life (or just remaining sane). 

Trial Periods are invaluable 

When I was searching for research opportunities at the beginning of the fall semester, I thought nothing of applying and interviewing for a role and, essentially, being granted it on the spot. I was honored to be selected among the numerous other applicants gunning for the same position. In hindsight, I should have asked for a trial period. You need time to meet the people you are going to work with for multiple months and to try your hand at the work you are expected to do. Many other students shared that they shadowed their research mentor before officially accepting the position. They had the opportunity to see if the project was the right fit while continuing to interview for other positions they might prefer. You could also apply this to any campus club or organization. Attend the first few meetings and go to the events. Socialize with the people in the club to see if it’s something you might enjoy. This will also give you an idea of the time commitment or any other club requirements before officially joining or paying dues. Take time to sort out your feelings about something before signing on.

Choose activities that you enjoy

The benefit of a trial period is that you are able to find out whether or not you will enjoy what you are attempting to get involved in. Sometimes it’s difficult to walk away from a position that makes you unhappy because you feel obligated for whatever reason. You chose the position, so you might as well see it through. You already paid dues, so there’s no point in wasting money. People also tend to get stuck doing things they do not enjoy because they think it will make their resume look good. As a student on the pre-medical track, I know dozens of people involved in clubs, organizations and even volunteering networks that they don’t feel passionate about. They continue to do these things because they believe it makes them look good. It adds more lines to their resume so it must be worth it, right? People waste time trying to check off all the boxes instead of looking for activities they genuinely enjoy. If you do not enjoy your extracurriculars, you are more likely to burn out. 

Quitting is acceptable, giving up is not

While it is okay to drop activities that you absolutely loathe, it is foolish to give up before you have given it a fair shot. I feel like many people believe the two are synonymous but there is a clear distinction between them that implies how much effort and thought you put into your decision. Quitting is pulling the plug on something that is not serving its intended purpose. You gave it some time and effort and feel like it’s not worth it. Giving up is abandoning something without truly giving it a chance. Try to analyze if your activities are serving you, if you enjoy them and feel they are valuable along with the effort you have put into them thus far. Sometimes you just know something is not going to work. But, try to reflect upon your options with other people before abandoning ship because they will provide a different perspective for you. At the end of the day, the decision is yours to make, and you have to put yourself first. 

Never feel bad for putting yourself first

Putting yourself first has acquired somewhat of a negative reputation because people associate it with being selfish, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking care of yourself is the path to fulfillment in your life and career. It is important to meet your needs to avoid burnout. While it might sound a little cutthroat, your number one priority is yourself. If you have to quit a job because they weren’t accommodating your school schedule, do it. If you are contemplating leaving a position because you aren’t actually doing the work you applied to do, leave. There is an abundance of opportunities out there. If you give something a fair chance and it doesn’t pan out, don’t feel guilty for wanting to quit. Occasionally you will find yourself too far gone in a position to reasonably leave, like on month 10 of a one-year internship. This is when it’s important to make time for yourself and go out of your way to partake in things of no consequence that you enjoy.

Do something frivolous

I know it sounds a little silly, but this is a piece of advice I received from one of my professors. Every class she would encourage us to do something frivolous for one hour. Whether it was reading, crocheting, getting dinner with friends or what have you, you should take one full hour to think about something other than school, work or extracurriculars. I know we are all incredibly busy and it seems like you can’t waste a single second of the day, but I promise that you can. It allows you to recuperate and destress, making the assignment due at midnight a lot more manageable now that you’re not so high-strung. It gives you something to look forward to and might even encourage you to finally pick up that new hobby. 

While it might seem like life or death, college is primarily about education. Learning the material necessary for your future career and learning about yourself. During young adulthood, you’re still developing. Do not waste these years believing you have to do it all to be successful. College students are constantly faced with challenges and new responsibilities, especially during sophomore year. You are no longer being coddled and you know everything you do in school could impact your career. It is okay to take a step back from everything you thought you wanted to be involved in. “Doing it all” is an unattainable expectation to set for yourself. Power through this Sophomore Slump and the ever-recurring Spring Scaries, you are more capable than you think.

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I am pre-med and enjoy spending my free time writing. I love to roller skate, hike, and try local cuisine. I am always open to a good movie or music recommendation.