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

With the spring semester well underway and summer right around the corner, my sophomore year at Penn State is coming to a close. It has been an eventful year to say the least. There have been many highs and many lows, but what came from those experiences are lessons that I will carry with me well after I graduate.

At the end of my freshman year, I knew that a big change needed to happen in order to improve my study habits and, in turn, my grades. I did a complete 180 and went from studying the night before tests and quizzes to spending all of my free time in the library. 

I pushed myself to a higher standard, sacrificed many nights of sleep and finished the fall semester with a 4.0 GPA. I was so proud of myself for getting to this point and I just knew the spring semester would be a breeze.

 I was completely wrong. 

What I didn’t account for in keeping up with my study habits from last semester, is that I would become severely overwhelmed by my workload. 

With working 16 hours a week, taking 18 credits worth of classes and being involved in three different organizations while holding executive positions in two of them, my schedule is overbooked to say the least. One of my flaws is not recognizing when I’m overwhelmed and being afraid to say “no” out of fear of letting other people down who are counting on me.

Eventually, I cracked. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to just be able to go home and drop my responsibilities, even if it was just for a day. I did the next best thing and called my dad.

He stayed silent and let me ball my eyes out and push my burdens onto him. With no more tears left, he asked me if he could give me some advice that he felt would be helpful to me. 

He reminded me that while he was so proud of me for how devoted I was to not giving up and doing well in all that I did, nothing was more important to him than making sure I was healthy and happy. We spoke for hours talking about how I don’t need to quit my obligations, but realize that there is nothing wrong with scaling back the amount of time and energy I devote to them. 

“Nothing is more important than your health whether it’s physical or mental and your happiness. Without those two it’s very hard to do well in any other part of your life.”

I knew that he was right and felt relieved that I could finally recognize my limit, and then learn to adapt from there. Despite what we’ve been taught, it is OK if you can’t devote 100% of your effort all the time to the things you are involved in. It is important to remember that we are humans and not machines that can work at full steam at all times.

The biggest takeaway from my sophomore year would be that there are no rewards in life for trying to accomplish everything. We all have our limits, and that’s OK. At the end of the day, no assignment or grade will ever matter more than you.

Madison Mendez is a third-year student at Penn State majoring in Professional Photography. She is from Orlando, Florida and is obsessed with Billie Eilish, the beach, and baking.