Sometimes it’s okay to say no

Joshua Hardee, Assistant Editor

This semester has made me feel, more acutely than ever, the consequences of overcommitting myself. With adding six classes and two jobs to the drama surrounding my friends and family and the details of daily life, I have recognized my tendency to spread myself too thin.

I like to keep busy and take advantage of opportunities that interest me, and because of that, I often put myself into predicaments where I sometimes struggle to meet my commitments. But unless something unpredicted happens, I generally do fulfill my responsibilities. Obviously, when you spend all your time just making it to the next thing, you don’t have ample time to reflect on your experiences, and determine what your next step should be so you begin to do work that’s subpar. At some point, you even begin prioritizing quantity over quality, which doesn’t usually amount to progress or success.

Of course, life frequently requires us to just hustle through and do the best we can when things get chaotic. Time management is the most important asset in striking a balance between what you want to do and what you need to do, although budgeting your time effectively is a matter of luck and judgement. It’s best to know what you’re passionate about so you can devote your time to the cultivation of that passion, but I know in college some haven’t yet discovered the area in life in which they can thrive; so, they involve themselves in lots of things to hopefully discover that activity or subject best suited for them.

And I would like to add that it’s easy to associate potential success in a certain field with the praise you receive on your college work. I think many of us, myself included, can continue to be a part of something that’s not very constructive if we feel that there’s a lot riding on us or when people have certain expectations of us. Similarly, we can feel like we have to take on more responsibilities, which we really shouldn’t perform, when we don’t want to let someone down. It’s in these situations that we must make the decision to say no, to do ourselves, others and the work itself justice, even though we feel that it may benefit us or help someone.

As a quiet person who likes to keep to themselves, I struggle more with wanting to engage in multiple activities to achieve personal goals than with social commitments. I’m by no means antisocial and I recognize the value of genuine friendships inside and outside the professional world; however, I learned early on that being unable to say no to people will allow them to take advantage of you, which only serves to detract from the amount of time and effort you could expend elsewhere.

I’d like to clarify that I don’t believe you should ever decline the opportunity to do something because you’re unsure or scared. If you’re able to do something that will be an invaluable experience, but it intimidates you, I think you should consider it. It’s primarily a matter of putting everything of necessity and importance in your life into perspective, for that enables you to better make decisions on whether you should accept or reject a proposition.