As a new year begins, we often find ourselves immersed in new interests. Perhaps summer allowed the perfect amount of time to recharge and jump back into having eight classes and ten extracurriculars. Or, maybe we will find ourselves exhausted and out of energy at the end of the semester. With the plethora of clubs and the intriguing classes to pick from, it’s no wonder many people feel burnout at IMSA.
Dr. Carol Williams-Nickelson writes that overpromising, overextending, overestimating, and overdoing does not help you live a balanced life, take care of yourself, or develop a positive and healthy professional identity. Since students have so many opportunities, it is difficult to pass them up, especially as they may offer career-building opportunities and experiences.
Overcommitting can lead to many harmful effects, including a decrease in mental health, worse grades, less sleep, and even getting removed from organizations or clubs since you can’t put in enough effort. Although many students worry about not having enough commitments because of college, being overcommitted can actually hurt your application since you cannot show passion and commitment to everything you do.
So, how can we stop overloading ourselves? The American Psychological Association gives a few tips about how we can do this. Firstly, examine your schedule. Filling out a calendar or planner with everything you need to do and your schedule can help you stay organized and know how much free time you have. Make sure to include times for self-care, family, and social activities in addition to educational ones.
After you create this schedule, you have to decide what you prioritize. This can be difficult for many students because of the number of interests people have, but this will ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself and scale back on less essential activities.
Finally, and maybe most important, you have to be able to say “no” (and mean it!). Learning to say no can be quite challenging, especially for students who want to stand out from their fellow high achievers and talented people. It’s possible that people you don’t often see or communicate with are unaware of the full scope of your time commitments. When your calendar is already at capacity, it’s not just acceptable, but crucial to set boundaries and feel at ease saying no.
As classes and extracurricular activities kick into full gear, remember these tips and try not to overcommit. There are always new opportunities that come by, so try not to be pressured into committing to something you don’t have time for or aren’t interested in.