Somehow, before I knew it, I was enrolled in 19 units this quarter and starting a new job. I told myself I’d drop something or reduce my hours, but the drop deadline passed, and we’re now very solidly mid-quarter, and nothing has changed. As my fall quarter dreams of a light spring quarter flew out the window in the face of my overeager reality, I asked myself how bad this could really be. More than a month of this overwhelming quarter has taught me that it can be pretty bad. Doing too much threatens several aspects of a healthy college lifestyle.
- Sleep schedule. My sleep schedule is easily the first to go when things get busy. Staying up late or even all night to finish papers, and napping whenever I have 30 minutes to spare means that I don’t have much of a sleep “schedule” left. I sleep when I have time and drink coffee when I don’t and do work in between.
- Friendships. It feels like every time I see my friends nowadays they say they haven’t seen me in ages. Every night, I’m locked up in my room or the library reading articles and writing papers, making it hard to dedicate time to spend with my friends.
- Procrastination. Having more work to do somehow makes the pressure to procrastinate grow stronger. A couple of small assignments are easy to knock out before continuing to obsessively binge Netflix, but a twelve page long research paper is just so much work, it’s much easier to leave for the future me to take care of. Then of course, the vicious cycle begins where procrastination leaves me even less time to do the work that I already barely have enough time to do.
- Meals. The problem with taking 19 units and working at a place that is open 9 to 5 is that my daytimes are completely packed from the time I wake up until dinnertime. This means that grabbing lunch can sometimes be challenging as I pedal furiously to work or my next class or office hours. Luckily, by planning ahead and generously spending my meal plan dollars, this problem can often be avoided, but being busy definitely makes it harder to eat regularly.
- Cleanliness. When you spend all of your time at work, in class, or studying in various places around campus, it should be hard for your room to get dirty, right? Apparently not, judging by the state of my room right now. I have no idea how it’s gotten so bad, but the pile of laundry amassing in the corner certainly isn’t helping anything.
- Events. There are so many awesome events that are happening on campus, but it feels like every time something is happening, I’m in class at work, or don’t have time because I need to do homework.
Given all of the ways doing too much can cause suffering, why bother? For me, it’s simply because even though all of my obligations are a lot of hard work, they’re truly things I enjoy. I love going to the library and doing research to write papers. I love learning Japanese, even when some of the many assignments and the daily classes feel overwhelming. I love my job, where my coworkers are great, and I get to earn my own income. Sure, I don’t love all of these things at every moment, and sometimes I definitely feel overwhelmed by all of the work I have, but, at least right now, it’s definitely worth it.
Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’ stanford.edu.