A Small Reminder For My Overachievers

If you constantly need to have things planned out to proceed with your day or week, chances are, you and I are very similar. Ever since I started university, I have always felt the need to plan out my days; it would help me feel less lost or like I was about to waste a day away. 

With the pandemic, I had to change my ways in order to adapt, and this is something that pretty much all of us can relate to. Having to stay inside all day is hard since we are social by nature. Suddenly having to restrict any kind of contact with friends and acquaintances took a toll on my mental health. Before the pandemic hit, I used to meet up with friends every day, and without realizing it, the days would soon be over. Now that I am usually by myself, I struggle with the lack of human contact. I have always aimed for an excellent GPA, and this goal has amplified since the pandemic hit. 

Nowadays, the only thing that makes sense to me is studying, keeping up to date with all my work and getting the best grades I can achieve. As a full-time student, my days are well planned out and I even have the time to volunteer with other activities within the university. However, it usually does not feel like I am doing much. I could spend 8 hours per day studying, but by the time I am resting in the evening and watching some TV shows, I feel guilty for not doing anything productive, like getting an advance on the upcoming week’s readings or assignments. Sometimes I feel lonely because most of the people I know have been struggling to keep up with university work, especially with the pandemic, and don’t have much time to socialize.

As such, I usually dread the end of the term. Everything gets hectic when the last week of classes is just around the corner and we have assignments due. Later on, we have to review for finals and time just flies by. Before you know it, the term has already ended and suddenly, there is nothing else to do. As someone who is so used to busy days studying and participating in activities, I find that the weeks between terms when we have time to rest are the most anxiety-provoking. 

Below are some tips that I have been reading about and that I try to implement during our term breaks to help with my anxiety.  

  1. 1. Plan specific activities for specific days.

    I find that keeping a schedule during breaks is helpful since I am already largely used to them. For example, I can plan to bake on Monday or draw and paint on Tuesday. Knowing that I have something to look forward to makes my days less dreadful.

  2. 2. Reading is a close substitute for studying.

    When I study for my courses, I basically just read a lot (Psychology is so heavy in readings!). So, during breaks, I find it helpful to turn my attention to books and catch up on the latest thrillers. 

  3. 3. Catch up on your favourite TV shows.

    Or, if you end up feeling restless from not doing anything “productive” like me, you can start a new show with a plot that appeals to you. You can even watch documentaries; I love those because I always end up learning interesting things.

It’s always good to remember that breaks are here for a reason. If we keep on studying continuously, it takes a toll on our mental health and we are more prone to burnouts. It’s helpful to use the term breaks as a way of recharging and preparing ourselves for the next semester.