Where Do I Draw the Line?

There is something about college that has made me want to do everything. I love to look busy in a crowd and, if I am honest, I love to have a busy schedule. If I am busy, there is no time to feel down, but that has not stopped me from trying to join as many organizations as possible. However, as I take more classes and become more involved, it has been difficult to keep it together at times, sometimes causing a wave of panic and emotion to arise.

I used to think that the amount of activities I was involved in defined me: my work ethic as well as my credibility— and a part of me still does. My insecurities about confidence helped me construe this idea that I need to force myself into as many activities as possible to show that I am capable and reliable. I have discovered that rather than proving myself, this ideology has caused me to take on tasks that I cannot always keep up with. Which, in the end does me more harm than good. I kept asking myself: where do I draw the line? Why can I not handle all of this?

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This quarter, I was determined to join more organizations in hopes of meeting new people as well as encountering new opportunities. For a while, I did not want to take anyone’s advice because I am notorious for being stubborn, and trying to do everything on my own. One week is all it took for me to get a little behind in my two English classes. The problem with this is that once I got behind for the first time, considering the amount of weekly reading assigned, I felt perpetually behind. I did not know how to handle the situation. I decided to combat this issue by taking time away from sleep (as most college students do) to make sure I could complete all my assignments and essays, but even that was not working. I ended up being exhausted, falling asleep at my desk, and my mind was constantly a mess. I forgot where I parked my bike (twice!) and I thought my ten page essay was due on a Friday when it was really due on Thursday, obliterating the timeline I had created for the assignment. The worst part of this experience is that I did not know how to fix my situation, and by this point, I had convinced myself it was irrecoverable. I reached a point where beginning the assignment felt impossible and exhausting. I knew I was expected to keep working anyway because that is my job as a student. With meetings and practices to attend and emails to compose, I knew I had to pull it together somehow. 

The worst part was when people called me out. The only advice they would give was simply to quit one of my activities, but I did not want to, and I still don’t. I knew they were only trying to alleviate my stress because it was obvious that I was overwhelmed. I started becoming worried about what they thought of me. What is wrong with participating in organizations that share my passions? The answer is nothing. There is nothing wrong with trying to be involved in everything you are passionate about and want to fight for because, in reality, the world needs passionate people.

The problem was that I was neglecting myself. I realized that simply deciding to “prioritize” or to “quit procrastinating” was not enough to overcome the burden I had.  I felt like I needed to take a step back and dissociate for a while, but I was too afraid. Afraid of what others would think of me. After my paper was due, I took ample amounts of time to reflect on my life as well as myself, and it is something I recommend that we all do, even if we do not feel stressed. We need to be mindful of our choices as well as our mental health. During this time, I was not allowing myself to get the physical and mental rest that I needed. However, we must never let it get to this point. We all need to make sure that we process how we feel, and check where we are putting our time. It is okay to take some time to relax and focus on yourselves, and also, never be anxious when asking others for help and reassurance — I know I do all the time. It is easy to get caught up and overwhelmed in our everyday lives, so we cannot forget about ourselves.