Maybe you need to schedule some time to take care of yourself.
Ellie Dupler, 19, has experienced how ambition can sometimes turn detrimental.
“There’s a constant feeling of not being good enough, not doing enough to make a difference, even if every minute of your day is completely booked,” Dupler said.
Dupler majors in linguistics at Yale University and is applying for its Global Health Fellows program. However, she feels like competition can sometimes be unhealthy.
“There’s always the option of dropping things, but when you go to these competitive schools, or maybe any school, I don’t know, you feel like a cop out if you drop an activity,” Dupler said.
Most college students are goal-driven — that’s a given. What many don’t realize is how ambition can sometimes be exhausting.
For students like Dupler, hard work means striving for success inside and outside of the classroom. Her goal is to move onto a prestigious graduate school and maybe become a Rhodes Scholar, she said. However, dreaming sometimes comes with a price.
“You always think you can do more and you’ll start to feel good about yourself,” Dupler said. “But then all of a sudden you hear about some amazing thing an upperclassman or even a peer has done and you’re like, well … I need to be doing that.”
Competitive environments on college campuses can motivate students to become involved in everything.
A survey conducted by Internships.com shows that internships can lead to job security for college graduates, with 69% of companies with 100 or more employees offering full-time jobs to their interns.
The ultimate desire of many individuals is to make the four years of college worth it.
Ernesto Villasenor, 21, of Compton, Calif., balanced multiple internships and research programs throughout his college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. However, he has learned how to balance his strong desire for success with other factors such as friends and family.
“I always allocate much more time than what I think I might need just to create more space in between (activities),” he said.
Villasenor said people often tell him he spreads himself too thin.
“They only say that because they see it from their perspective,” Villasenor said. “They see me always active, they see me go up and down, and yeah, they see that sometimes I do not get enough sleep and all of that, but they only know that aspect.”
Villaseñor and Dupler both say there’s a solution to combat the hardships that come with extensive competition: self-drive and passion.
“The best thing I do to manage work is to plan specific times for specific homework assignments and write them down in my planner as if they’re commitments that I can’t break,” Dupler said.
Time management is key, Villaseñor said. He says he sets aside time for family and friends whenever he can.
And sometimes, too much self-motivation might be a good thing — it might even lead you to life-changing decisions.
For 19-year-old Emma Caltrider, acting aspirations ultimately changed her college experience — she currently has none. Caltrider initially planned on attending college but then decided to focus on acting.
Does she regret it? Absolutely not, she says.
For college students and people who postponed college to pursue something else, people should do things out of love, Caltrider says.
“Make sure your career isn’t your life,” Caltrider said. “Your work is not your life. Your life is your life and your career is your career. It’s very important to keep those things separate and live to have a full life — full of friends and love and free time. Time to just be a person and not have your life consumed by things you have to get accomplished.”
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