Failing Big: Behind the curtain

If I had met sophomore-me last year, I would have been jealous. A member of six clubs, about to declare a major and surrounded by a solid group of friends, I’ve been checking all the boxes that first-year-me wanted to check.

But six clubs means six meetings a week — all an hour or longer — in addition to hours of work outside of meetings. In the past week for Tufts University Social Collective (TUSC) alone, I’ve designed four event posters, six cover photos and two Snapchat filters. For schoolwork this week, I had my first midterm, the first stage of my Comp 15 project and a Spanish composition due, in addition to regular daily homework.

It feels like I’ve had to create three checklists just to stay afloat. One for schoolwork, with all my assignments laid out; one for club projects and those deadlines; and one for my personal schedule, which at my lowest point of the week, held a reminder to shower. Laundry from Monday is still sitting unfolded in my hamper, and my desk organization has fallen into disarray. It’s hard to stay on top of my personal life when it feels less important than the schoolwork and club deadlines — I’d rather grind through Comp 15 until 1 a.m. every night than set aside an hour each night for housekeeping.

While I’m succeeding in some major areas that I had set my sights on, I’ve had to sacrifice certain elements of my personal life, which can be a dangerous trade-off. In order to focus more on on-campus involvement, I had to quit my job, because I couldn’t squeeze an extra four hours out of my week, and I haven’t conditioned my hair in a week to save time. It may seem small, but lack of self-care can quickly snowball if not kept under control.

This isn’t me complaining. I love all my clubs and all the projects with which I am involved, and nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my work have a broader impact on campus, an impact that doing my laundry will never have. This is a note to younger me, and anyone out there like her, to let her know that everyone who seems to have it all figured out is probably still struggling with something.

Is it impossible to do it all? No. If I use my no-class Fridays to start Monday’s homework and always make sure to start essays and projects well ahead of time, I know I’ll be able to handle the workload being thrown my way. But some weeks, like this one, it will be overwhelming. It will be difficult. It will be hard to get out of bed in the morning, or to find time to shower. I don’t have any advice to offer on how to handle it, but maybe, if anyone else is struggling with this, it’ll help to know that someone else is, too.

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