By Autumn Moon
I’ve always been the kind of person who tries to do it all.
In high school, I was in clubs, played a sport, cared a lot about my grades and still regularly went out with friends and family. Coming to college, I wanted to maintain the way I had done things before. I didn’t think twice about continuing my involvement with certain activities or hobbies.
I’ve always been an overachiever — to a fault.
At the beginning of my freshman year, I joined a lot of clubs. My take was that I would slowly weed out the ones that were less important to me, and that I’d stick with the ones I was really passionate about.
I still get emails from a club I signed up to join at SPLASH, but never ended up going to its meetings.
My friends joke around because I am always running from one club to the next. Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking my overachiever approach.
As a second semester freshman, my workload has grown increasingly heavy. Club meetings seem longer, the gym seems farther away and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
My to-do lists now seem to stretch into a never-ending abyss. I find myself thinking more and more, “How will I get all this done?”
The other day, I was having an anxious moment while applying to an internship on top of my other 100 responsibilities that same day. I felt emotionally exhausted, physically tired and I realized something absolutely vital about my wellbeing: packing my schedule with a million activities is no longer making me happy.
This epiphany, although seemingly simple, really brought to light for me that doing everything doesn’t mean you are succeeding at everything. When you push yourself too hard to do too many things, you enjoy them less, your performance in whatever you’re doing decreases and you don’t have time to relax.
I love doing lots of activities, and I feel like I thrive in environments that are busy and bustling. However, there’s a point where you have to take a step back and reevaluate. College is supposed to be where you’re figuring yourself out, and sometimes, to do that, you just need to take a break.
I’ve always been terrible at chilling out. Odd as that sounds, I just have a tendency to feel like the opportunity cost of time I spend relaxing is too great. If I chose to nap or watch TV, I feel guilty that I’m not doing something productive, like homework or going to the gym.
What I’ve to realize is that relaxing is incredibly productive. Without down time to take a break from stress, you can’t clear your head and think properly. It is impossible to enjoy the activities in your busy schedule if you’re always worrying about the next thing and never reveling in what you’re doing in the moment.
I’ve always been bad at taking breaks, going with the flow and mellowing out. But I now know how important it is to slow down.
Pushing yourself is necessary sometimes, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard, the pressure will just end up taking a toll on your wellbeing. Sometimes you have to step back and recognize when things just aren’t right for you anymore, and being able to express such a realization is a serious sign of maturity.
Life is short, so if packing your schedule is no longer making you happy, make the choice to reevaluate what does.