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Striking the balance at university

Sofia Della Sala discusses the difficulty of choosing not to take every opportunity at uni.

As you get stuck into university, whether it be at undergrad or postgrad level, there will be hundreds of opportunities and events thrown at you. From society events, speakers that visit the university, career networking afternoons and then just your friends organising a weekend pub trip. All in all, you can pack your days with back-to-back plans or keep them empty.

But striking the balance is something I find incredibly difficult. Will I miss a great speaker? Will I not be in the loop? I sometimes find myself racing home to try to nap or just relax a bit in preparation for an evening event that I really should just skip. I sometimes struggle to say no.

When my friends meet up, even if I am tired or feel like I need a day at home, I will convince myself that it will be fine when I get there because I will be with everyone and having fun – I will forget that I am in dire need of some TLC.

I sometimes envy those who can just say: “Sorry, not tonight”, without feeling the need to give a detailed explanation about how they are so sorry but they can’t come for reasons x, y and z. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not someone who never turns down plans or puts themselves first. I love my sleep as much as the next person and even when I have plans, I try my best to not allow my sleep to get compromised. I have also backed out of plans— just maybe not as often as I should.

But it can be difficult when you want to do all these things. I am not packing my calendar full of events that I dread or dislike. I wish I could be in two places at once, but as fun as this term has been, I am also aware that it has been packed that little bit too full. I need to prioritise certain events and know to turn down others, even if I feel like I don’t need a night off at that moment in time, my future self will thank me for it.

I get easily swept up in things that sound exciting. When someone tells me they are a trapeze artist, my immediate thought is: “That is so cool, maybe I can try that”. Really there is no need for me to fling myself from ropes for the hell of it. As a fun activity to try out sure (it does sound amazing), but not another regular appointment on my weekly schedule. Just because someone else does it, or someone I know raves about something, it doesn’t mean I have to move mountains to include it in my day. I need to just acknowledge that it does sound great but that what I actually need is my pyjamas, a blanket, and Legally Blonde.

Being busy and having lots to do it great, but only when you are actually able to enjoy those plans and not just trudge through them thinking about the moment you get to collapse onto your bed. In the new year I am going to try and follow my own advice of saying no – the world won’t implode and your friends won’t hate you. Have a night off, it’s ok.

Image Credit: Leeloo Thefirst via Pexels.

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