The Effects of Spreading Yourself Too Thin on A College Campus
by Megan Dreher, Editor-in-Chief
Most days, I’m tired.
I’ve been told that the exhaustion is something I did it to myself. I’ve been told that my exhaustion isn’t valid because of that. But the reality of the situation is that one of my proudest accomplishments during my four years at Manhattan College is the fact that I’ve been able to do it all, and truly can say that I love doing it.
Editor-in-Chief, Vice President of Communication for student government, captain of the national championship dance team, co-director of the Center for Ethics, Writing Consultant, double major, grad school applicant…I think that’s it (for now). I won’t lie, it’s extremely vulnerable to list everything I’ve involved myself in over the past four years. It’s taxing, trying to extend myself in every area and do all of it well. As someone who craves perfection, and truly wants to do my best in each activity I commit myself to, I exhaust myself.
I’ve resorted to means of self-care—face masks, pedicures, naps. Unfortunately, even those relaxing activities are consumed with thoughts about answering emails, writing personal statements, and thinking of what comes next on my Google calendar. I have become obsessed with scheduling, organizing, and living on a time table.
I often wonder if this will continue into my post-collegiate life. No, I won’t be in charge of or participating in these clubs anymore. But, my fear is that this obsession with involvement will find new outlets to manifest in. I am extremely passionate about everything I do, but it doesn’t negate the fact that it drains me. I can only imagine the ways in which future commitments will drain me if I don’t take the time now to establish how I will take care of myself.
Self-care, and more importantly self-validation, are not just buzzwords. We’re busy. We’re tired. And that’s not okay. We need to find ways in which we can release stress, frustration, and emotional angst. It’s okay that we can’t do it all. It’s taken four years and a super long email signature to realize that. I still have a lot of learning to do.
The best advice I can give, even if it’s completely unsolicited, is to recognize that it’s okay to ask for help. We can’t do it all alone, and ultimately there will be a time that we will fail. Failure is something that we often consider to be taboo, especially as students. But it provides an experience to learn, to grow, and to show a super exposed side of the self to others who deeply care. Lean on those who are willing to support you.
This is for you—the person that is overwhelmed with the pressure of perfection and the need to prove yourself. You are doing the best you can, and you’re appreciated for what you give. You shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that it’s too much, and that at the end of it all…you’re tired.