At Butler, my average day consists of classes, work, an internship, extracurricular activities, and then homework after that. During any breaks, I try for a social life, sometimes even successfully! While I love a lot of things about college, having such an overloaded schedule is not one of them.
I’m not alone in this. I have friends who struggle with mental health setbacks, confidence issues, and sleep problems because they can’t keep up with themselves. So, as the semester winds down and the homework amps up, I thought I’d try to send out a reminder to myself, to my friends, and to college students everywhere that school isn’t the be-all end-all.
Remember that whatever you’re dealing with – stress, a tough semester, college itself – is temporary and shall pass. One day, the exam will end, the semester will finish, and summer will begin. Your homework is not eternal, even if it feels like it.
Remember that you can’t work nonstop. When classes get intense, it feels like you can’t afford to take many breaks, but it does help. Find a place where you can relax – your room, a rec center, your friends’ house. Then go there and unwind, have fun – remind yourself that being in college isn’t just about working hard.
Remember that it is okay to say no. Every university has countless clubs, internships, and programs. While they’re great opportunities, they don’t all have to be for you. If you feel more passionate about certain things, focus on those and remove what you don’t have the energy or time for. You can’t do everything, and it’s better to work hard at a few things you love than to work at a lot of things you’re lukewarm about.
Remember that academic excellence does not equal self-worth. When you get a C on a paper or don’t get an internship, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you’re not good enough. It means something small but disappointing has happened. You can move on and still be the awesome person you were before.
And lastly, importantly, remember that life after college is so, so bright. You’ll get new jobs, friends, loves, and passions. I haven’t experienced it yet myself, but I’m told it’s pretty nice. So when homework goes till the wee hours of the morning, or you’re working on the third essay of the week, think of that life post-college, and all the questions you have yet to answer, all the things you have yet to do. It’ll make it all more worth it.
Paige Dempsey is a junior creative writing major at Butler University. She is from a tiny town in northern Indiana called Harlan, which is just outside of Fort Wayne. Paige loves art, books, and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (at least three times a week).