by NICK MEYERS
As college students we’re often overwhelmed with responsibilities. Whether we’re studying for class, working for rent or mastering our crafts, it seems like we’re always trying to keep our heads above water.
When our obligations begin to pile up, we’re likely to neglect the most important one: our obligation to ourselves.
Usually when we’re stressed out, we don’t feel good. And if we don’t feel good, then why are we doing what we’re doing? Being happy with your life is your first obligation and if external pressures are making you unhappy, then maybe you need to make a change.
We can’t do all the things that we want to do all the time, but we can budget our time to balance between what we have to do and what we want to do.
Our culture may seem like it emphasizes constant hard work over recreation and relaxation, but these are important parts to living a happy and healthy life. Don’t feel guilty if you need to give yourself some time to decompress from the daily whirlwind that is your life.
The time you take for yourself and your hobbies is just as important as any other obligation you find yourself facing.
Sometimes this means relinquishing responsibilities that seem impossible to give up. It’s hard to quit sometimes, but when it comes at the expense of your mental or even physical health, then you have to make that call.
And that’s OK.
We still have the rest of our lives in front of us and those lives are probably long enough for us to do all the things that we hope to do even if those things don’t happen right now.
Of course we always need to prepare for the future, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of the present. There will be time.
However, this advice comes with a grain of salt. There will be times when we we’re faced with the seemingly impossible and have no choice but to keep moving forward.
Inevitably, we are going to face difficult periods in life, but those challenges give us the opportunity to succeed where we think we might fail.
All of us, when we put our minds to it, have the ability to overcome the obstacles in front of us. No doubt it’ll be difficult, but as we’re trying to keep our heads above water, we can either keep treading or start swimming.
The best thing we can do to address these challenges is make sure that we’re healthy and mentally prepared to take on whatever life throws at us.
It’s those difficult times that will end up defining our character, and we don’t want to put ourselves at a disadvantage by neglecting our basic needs the rest of the time.
So wherever you’re at in life, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. When life starts getting tough, make sure you’re able to come back even tougher.
Prepare for those times by making sure there is something in your life that means something to you beyond the obligations that come from school, work or other people.
I’d like to end with some encouraging (and spoiler-free) words I received this weekend from Matt Damon in Ridley Scott’s new movie, “The Martian.”
Damon’s character, Mark Whitney, says that, “at some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you
solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”