Opinion | UI students, it’s ok to take a step back

With pressure to stay busy, it’s important to take time for yourself


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To do list with so many things note on paper with paper balls and pen

Sophia Meador, Opinions Columnist

Is there ever a free moment in your day when you feel like you should be doing something? In the fast-paced world we live in, having time for yourself can feel wrong.

Most adults today are overwhelmed with a multitude of responsibilities: work, family, friends, relationships, committees, housekeeping, education, and several other activities unique to each individual. On top of that, they have to look after themselves to stay on top of their busy lives.

Some people would say the U.S. has a toxic work culture that values work over personal life, and this work-obsessed mentality has been passed down to the new generation.

College students today are at work at all hours of the day: school, jobs, activities, clubs, social life, relationships and family. While it is good to stay busy with these important matters, overworking has negative effects on the mental health of students.

In a study by the Healthy Mind Network, 34 percent of college students showed signs of anxiety disorder, and 39 percent of college students expressed signs of depression.

Though an overload of commitments may not be the cause of all students’ anxiety or depression, these concerning statistics highlight the importance of taking care of your mental and physical health. Overworking prevents you from putting your best self forward.

UI first-year Chloe Skidmore has experienced the overwhelming impact of being both a student and athlete.

“I wasn’t fully prepared for what I got myself into,” Skidmore said. “You have to work around a very concrete schedule.”

Though she is grateful for the opportunity she has on the cross country and track team, Skidmore has experienced the challenge of juggling several commitments while transitioning to college life.

In the fast-past world we live in, it’s easy to feel like you need to do it all.  However, it’s  OK to take a step back and focus on yourself.

With the many organizations the UI offers, it’s easy to overrun yourself with activities. One way to manage your devotion to student organizations is to prioritize one organization dedicated to service, and an organization that appeals to your personal interest.

Signing up for too many student organizations can overwhelm and complicate a student’s schedule. Dedicating more of yourself to less activities will increase the overall impact you make.

Additionally, students often feel overwhelmed by the number of credits they need to fulfill. Often, this results in students packing as many semester hours in their schedules as possible.

Though fulfilling academic requirements can be a challenge, it’s imperative to your academic success to not overload your schedule. Plan to have enough time each day to dedicate yourself to a single class rather than dedicating yourself to an abundance of semester hours.

On top of schoolwork, many students — like myself — have part-time jobs to help pay for college. Even a few shifts each week can be a massive undertaking as a student.

Though college is a massive expense, it’s important that you can prioritize your education before prioritizing your job. In my experience of working at a coffee shop on campus, maxing out on shifts during the weekend and summer can help mediate the amount you work on weekdays.

This school year, find a balance that works for you.

Though it is important to stay involved in activities and to strive for academic success, it’s most important you take care of yourself. Remember, it is OK to take a step back. The best work you do happens when you do what works best for you.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.