Saying No

As Cobbers, we have a horrible habit of saying yes too much. Yes I’d like to sign up for all the clubs at Cobber Expo, yes I’d like to represent my class for SGA, yes I’d like to be a collegiate athlete, yes I’d like sit on this committee, yes I’d like to take this class that is unrelated to my major or minor just because I’m a cobber. We’ve garnered a reputation of being busy. While some people simply function better with more going on in their lives, it is still important to say no.

I’m not one to talk. This year alone I am the Director’s assistant in Hallett Hall, I have sat on two lengthy committees for residence life, I work in the Career Center, I’m a CRU training group leader, I participate in the Remedy and Tabernacle, I’m a member of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, and I’m helping produce the senior video. I am a “yes”-oholic. While I love every single thing that I have become involved in throughout my years as a cobber, I have finally realized (only now that I’m a senior of course), the full consequences of always saying yes.

This past semester I have found that I have hardly any time to apply for post graduate jobs, little time to do my hobbies or spend time with friends, not much time to myself, and have even found myself lacking enough time to do homework. This is not ideal. As a result I currently don’t know where I’ll be working when I graduate, I’ve gone weeks without really interacting with those who mean the most to me, and my stress levels have risen much higher than I’d like them to be. My hope is that many of you who are reading this will become better at saying no before your last semester of college. Not only will you be less worn out, but you will have more time to dedicate to your true passions and will have more opportunities for advancing and making a difference.

So how does one say no? While there’s no cut and dry formula, the following steps should provide some guidance:

  • Figure out how you best function. As mentioned above, some people perform well when their schedule is packed, while others need a lot of spare time to be on the top of their game. Figure out where on the spectrum you lie. Lay out a rough draft of how much time you can reasonably spend on outside activities and use that as a guide for when you can say yes and when you should say no.
  • Figure out what you really care about. Read our last blog post on how to find your passion, or do some personal evaluation. If you are participating in a club or organization simply because it might boost your resume, you are probably participating for the wrong reasons. Find ways to spend your time that will really excite you and ignite your best efforts.
  • Eliminate everything that isn’t necessary. Based on your decisions on how much you can handle and what you care about most, start saying no to anything that doesn’t fit in these categories. Take it slow, working your way out of one over-commitment at a time. Realize that if you really miss participating in these organizations, you can always bring them back into your life in a way that fits your schedule better.

Written by: Career Peer Nicky

Let us know: What organizations or clubs do you think you should say no to?

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