Dear Fellow College Students: We Are All Busy

Recently at a Her Campus Wisconsin brunch, I had one of the most reality-check conversations that I’ve had in a while. 

We all have friends that talk non-stop about just how busy they are, how they haven’t slept in days, how they have an interview, multiple exams, too many club meetings to keep up, a super demanding leadership role, a hard job with too many hours — you name it. Honestly, I know that I’m guilty of being this friend at stressful times as well. But we all need to open our eyes and accept the rather obvious reality of the situation; in college, being busy is the norm. Rarely are any of us more special than the next person.

 I am in two clubs on campus and on the executive board of one as a features editor. I have a job that requires at least 10 hours per week out of me, plus bi-weekly meetings and watching myself extra carefully since “lead” is in my title. (Let me tell you, calling alum after alum and begging for money for UW while having to lead by example the entire time is no easy task). I have two unpaid internships this semester that have, quite frankly, consisted of mostly busy work, but of course, it still had to get done; that’s what resume building is, right? I had three job and internship interviews this past week, one being a stressful second round where I had to give a presentation from memory. And to be honest, I’m sure I’m still doing less than a big chunk of people at UW. 

In this day and age, a lot is expected of college students. That is simply our reality. There are so many things, mainly technological, that didn’t exist 20 years ago, and virtually every industry has changed because of it. Things change every single day because of how advanced the internet and these technologies have become. To top it off, we display our “perfect” lives for 500 of our closest friends on the utopian society that is Instagram. Millennials are stereotypically go-getters that rarely slow down and probably do not sleep enough 95% of the time. Of course, being busy is good but never ignore the fact that you are only human and need balance. Although from the outside it’s so easy to look at everyone and think they are doing it all with no problem, everyone needs a break. Call off work if you need to. Take a break to go out for dinner or brunch. Work out, if that’s something that helps you relieve stress. Catch up on your favorite Netflix show. Do a face mask. Get together with your friends to do something other than study (crazy, right?). No matter what it is that speaks to you in terms of self-care, remember: two to three hours of your day will not make a difference in the long run. 

 Another important thing to remember is that, again, we are all human. Your professors? TAs? Boss? Fellow members on a group project? They are people with emotions, the same as you! If you are having an especially bad week, it will never, ever hurt for you to talk to someone. Relating to someone on an emotional level works wonders. They know you are busy and have a million different things going on, and if you explain what is happening, they are usually more than willing to help you. I had a fever this past week as well as two job interviews on the same day. I told my Spanish professor this, and she allowed me two extra days to study for the exam. Although this may not work in bigger classes, I was incredibly grateful and could not thank her enough. She told me that “Health always comes first,” and I think that this is something that can be easy to forget. 

If you are having one of those weeks (and let’s be honest, at the end of the semester, it’s probably every week), it’s okay to talk about it. Everyone needs to get things off their chest. What’s important is that you check in with your friends or roommates first. The chances are high that they’re having the same exact kind of week as you. While it’s very likely that they will be willing to listen to and support you, sometimes if a person is in an especially bad mental place, it can be difficult to take that pile of stress from another person when they can barely keep their own head above water. Be sure that they are in a mental state where they are ready to hear you out and offer support. If not, you will be okay. Find another willing friend, call a family member, or simply take a breather and remove yourself from the situation, even if it is as little as 10 minutes. In our incredibly busy day-to-day college lives, it is so easy to get wrapped up in our own worries, troubles and anxieties; 99.9% of your friends are experiencing the same exact thing, so always check that it’s a good time for them to listen to you, and when you are in an okay mental state, always be ready to lend them a hand as well.