An Evening of Dance

Work ethic vs. self care: a student’s dilemma

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March 13, 2017

10:06 PM

Fiverr, a global online marketplace offers users tasks and services beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed, launched a campaign “In Doers We Trust.” One of the images for the campaign went viral on Twitter and Facebook earlier this week, featuring the words “You eat a coffee for lunch. You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.”

When I go to my classes the next day, it’s inevitable that I’ll hear others talking about their late nights or early mornings too.

While fiverr is just promoting their website where it is beneficial – in terms of money-making – for people to do more work, I’ve seen many people lauding this mindset. Sure, it seems great to prioritize doing your work and trying to be the top student or top employee, especially at high-pressure institutions like the College of William and Mary. I’ve spent many a day (or night) stressing in Swemromas over what seems to be hundreds of assignments and even made the mistake of priding myself for going a day or two without sleep. When I go to my classes the next day, it’s inevitable that I’ll hear others talking about their late nights or early mornings too. It almost seems like this “doer” mindset is the perfect to handle the stress of college. However, I’ve learned that this mindset, however useful it is for getting work done, is mentally and physically unhealthy.

I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic and always made sure to turn in my assignments. I’ve also fallen into that all-too-easy trap here at the College of trying to do more than is humanly possible.

I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic and always made sure to turn in my assignments. I’ve also fallen into that all-too-easy trap here at the College of trying to do more than is humanly possible. I think about taking a step back, but the pressure kicks in and I feel myself raising my hand to volunteer for another committee position or to help a friend with a time-consuming problem. I fill my color-coded planner with meetings, assignments and the deadlines for Flat Hat articles, but I’m bad at giving myself time to eat and sleep. I praise my friends for going to sleep early and taking care of themselves, but it seems like no matter how much I preach “new year, new me” or say I’m prioritizing self-care, I still feel the need to compete with my talented, hard-working peers.

Inevitably, a few weeks into the semester, I get sick. Instead of taking time to get better and spending a day or two in bed, I feel the need to keep going, keep staying up until 3 or 4 a.m. Now, after spring break, I’m still sick and the chances of me beating this cold anytime soon seem slim. When will I learn that my need to compete and achieve more needs to be reined in for my physical health? The stress I feel from doing more and more only subsides when I take a step back.

While ads like this don’t necessarily encourage me to go for that second – our fourth – cup of coffee or sleep less, they reinforce this unhealthy mindset that I already feel surrounded by at the College.

While ads like this don’t necessarily encourage me to go for that second – our fourth – cup of coffee or sleep less, they reinforce this unhealthy mindset that I already feel surrounded by at the College. Do more, sleep less, add things to your resume or LinkedIn profile. I wish companies would realize that something as simple as one advertisement in their global campaign still has the potential of going viral and getting taken out of context.

I can’t make any promises that I’m going to go to sleep any earlier, but taking a step back to analyze the message of ads and campaigns like this remind myself to be a little gentler to myself. I need to learn to appreciate that I do enough and learn how to forgive myself for failing to meet the unrealistic expectations I set – I need to learn to celebrate that a few semesters into my time at the College, I’m really finding my rhythm and doing a few things that I love, and that’s more than enough for me.

Email Sarah Smith at [email protected].

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About Author

Sarah Smith

News Editor Sarah Smith '19 is an undeclared major from Ashburn, VA. She formerly served as Associate News Editor.