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Mental Health

What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed With School Opportunities

I remember when I first started journalism school, I was so worried I wasn’t going to get any job or volunteer opportunities. I didn’t think I’d match the competition and I’d go through my entire undergraduate career completing assignments and quizzes without getting any hands-on experience. I eventually got over myself and started writing for The Eyeopener and for my own blog, which gave me a lot of confidence. In fact, it gave me so much confidence that I started applying for literally any volunteer or job position slightly related to journalism that came my way and to my own surprise, I actually got positions!  

The only problem: I couldn’t do everything. There was no way I could ever balance working part-time, being a full-time student and involving myself in over 4 publications at once. I wanted to do everything, but there weren’t enough hours in the day to enable me to, unless I deprived myself of sleep, which wasn’t something I was prepared to do. The only choice I had was to make a decision and prioritize what was really important to me. I had to choose which opportunity was most valuable to me and which one I felt most suited to. Here’s how I did it. 

I thought about variety. A lot of the opportunities were quite similar in the sense that they demanded the same type of journalism. So I chose 2 or 3 distinct opportunities that would oblige me to develop unique skill sets. 

I also thought about my interests. A lot of the opportunities I had were not EXACTLY what I was interested in, they were close to it. Therefore, I had to think long and hard about how much I actually wanted to do each one, how committed I was. I needed to make sure what I invested my time in actually made me happy and that eliminated quite a few options. 

I thought about sacrifice. There was no way I wasn’t going to be able to juggle everything and at some point, I realized I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. I realized that I still had two more years of undergrad to try out everything and that there wasn’t that much of a rush. 

I thought about my capabilities. Some of the paid positions seemed like they were asking for things I wasn’t that equipped with. I had a gut feeling I was skipping relevant steps in my journalistic journey where I’d acquire those skills. I understand it’s good to push one’s boundaries but I think there’s also something to say for taking the necessary time to absorb information. 

Finally, I realized that doing too much means everything I do is not done as well as it could be if I had more time and energy. I’m someone who takes pride in doing a good job and always putting my best foot forward. However, it’s impossible to do that when I’m overwhelmed and overworked. Taking breaks is as important as being productive. All in all, I’m glad I took time to reflect on what I want because it’s gonna make me that much more productive and successful in what I choose to do. 


Hey I'm Sarah! I'm a second year journalism student at Ryerson. When I'm not writing for HER campus or The Eyeopener, I'm finding music's next hidden gem and writing about it on my blog Hidden Gems. Apart from journalism, I'm a singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist and overall, a music junky. Some day, I hope to work in music journalism, PR or just in the music bus in general! I'm also a total frenchie so hit me up for grammar points or croissants!!
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