When evaluating your commitments, be sure to keep your goals in mind

I’ve always had the bad habit of biting off more than I can chew, but it’s become especially bad this semester. With two jobs, an internship, classes, activities, something that resembles a social life and constant thoughts of grad school buzzing in my head like flies that won’t go away, I’m a thread away from going bonkers.

And I’m not the only one. All over campus, freshmen are finding out the hard way what it means to sign up for one club too many and upperclassmen are suffering from the stresses of looming applications, increasingly involved classes and part-time jobs — all while coming to terms with the terrible fact that the real world is only a few short years away.

Commitments turn into over-commitments pretty quickly; what’s worse, we don’t know how time consuming something will be until we’ve already made the promises, signed the papers and paid the dues. It’s tough, so how do we cope with being really over-the-top, barely-have-time-to-breathe busy?

Obviously there are a lot of ways to do it. Sobbing into a roll of cookie dough, for one. But hopefully that doesn’t happen too often; there are plenty of more positive ways to deal with the stress that comes with being overcommitted.

Personally, I find that the best way to maintain my sanity is to always think about my goals in relation to my commitments: What does working a part-time job do for me? What about my activities, like writing for The Flat Hat? The more specific the answers, the better. As for these two commitments, the job will help me save up money to buy a plane ticket to Rio de Janeiro, and the columns will contribute to a portfolio I can submit to potential internships, jobs and graduate schools.

If a stressor does not help you reach your goals, maybe it’s time to reevaluate it. Say no. Tell yourself that what you get out of the commitment isn’t worth what you put into it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should quit all the activities that are “just for fun.”

The just-for-fun activities are de-stressors, even if they are commitments. In fact, it’s better that they are commitments because they force us to emerge from Earl Gregg Swem Library for a little while.

That being said, it’s also important to make time for relaxation, no matter how busy you are. Set aside an hour or two to read a good novel, nap on the Sunken Garden, or watch an action movie with your friends. It’s all right to take some time to turn away from commitments and do something for yourself. If we want to stay sane in this whirlwind of stress, it’s necessary. No matter what, have fun.

Email Samantha Farkas at sbfarkas@email.wm.edu.


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