As I start my final semester at WSU, I look back and think of my freshman self and think about the advice I would have given her.

Learning to Say “No”

The one thing that I would tell her is to learn how to say “no.” I don’t mean saying “no” to doing homework or going to class. But maybe saying “no” to joining another club or getting another part-time job on top of taking an 18-credit course load.

Learning to say no is hard. College presents many great opportunities but if you say yes to them all, you will stretch yourself too thin like I did my freshman year.

Being Busy Isn’t Always a Good Thing

In the past, I spread myself too thin when I continued to take on more and more opportunities. One semester in particular, I took an 18-credit course load, had three-part time jobs split between on and off campus, and was involved in three clubs on campus while trying to have a social life and get enough sleep.

While being busy can be a good thing, I was so busy to the point that I couldn’t give 100% to everything I did.

Your Health is Important

Saying no doesn’t just mean saying no to opportunities. It means saying yes to your overall wellbeing – whether that is your mental, emotional, or physical health. Determining what is best for your overall wellbeing takes some self-reflection.

I would encourage you to take some time to identify the things that you are involved in that are truly benefiting you and the things that are not. While you are taking “inventory” of the things you are involved in, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this preparing me for the future?
  • Is this allowing me to better the life of someone else?
  • Is this achieving a goal or serving a greater purpose?

Based on your answers to those questions, you should be able to sort through your inventory and decide what is worth the time and energy and what isn’t. I personally hate quitting things, but sometimes the things that I am trying so hard to hold onto are not actually healthy for me.

What are the things you are clinging to? Are they holding you back from something greater?

Be Effective, Not Overloaded

Saying “no” is especially hard for me because I want to help everyone and be involved with everything, but that is not realistic. If you are like me and continue to say yes to everyone and everything the outcome will do more harm than good.

Rather, if you learn to say “no”, you will be more effective in the things you do say yes to.

Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you throughout your college career but don’t let those opportunities take advantage of you. Be effective, not overloaded.