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It’s Time To Give Yourself A Break

We’ve made it to the midway point of the semester, folks.

I know. It’s gone by scarily fast. But be proud of yourself! This is a piece of success we surely need to celebrate. We’ve experienced football games and club events, new executive positions were assigned, and we’ve completed a lot of homework.

This might be your first-ever semester that’s flying by. Or maybe this is your very last fall semester of college.

Although we’re in mid-October, have you taken a second to pause and ask yourself, “How did I do it?” How much sleep have you gotten? Are you eating all three meals? How much time do you spend on assignments and projects?

Yeah, you haven’t done that recently, have you? College is a different breed. Most of the time, we never know if we’re doing any of this right.

I know you’re questioning this: “What does it mean to be productive? Do I have enough on my resume? Am I gaining experience? Am I doing too much?”

Well, here’s your sign to stop thinking for a moment. No, actually, use 10 minutes. Take a breath. Sure, I’m writing this for every Penn Stater, but there’s a part of me writing this for myself.

Take a sip of water. Relax your shoulders. Recognize that not everything relies on your test scores, project grades, or the outline of your cover letter. Those things will come and fall into place. It’s easier said than done, but at least take that sip of water.

We, as students, get so wrapped up in our progression as successful 18 to 22-year-olds that we forget what kind of people we are outside of the classroom. We’re made up of so much more. Our memories at Penn State are defined by the people we decide to be. That’s vital before entering the “real world” that’s always talked about.

In the nicest way possible, put your pride aside and ask for help when you need it.

Meaning, if you lose your way, don’t be ashamed of asking for someone to take your hand and guide you. There are people on this campus and in your life that want to give support and guidance. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. That’s impossible, and no one is expecting you to do it all alone.

We go days on end grinding out assignments and planning events. I’m not too sure when we’re all looked in the eyes and reminded that it’s OK to not be OK.

Stop spreading yourself too thin. Remember, it’s OK to say no. If you’re like me, you want to do everything to prove you can. I hate to say it, but if you try to do that, the work will become mediocre and the best version of yourself will struggle. A team might rely on you, but at the same time, they care about you.

All of this might seem self-explanatory. But, I’m here to remind you that we’re all going through the same motions, and you’re not alone. Sometimes you need to hear it from someone going through it, too.

Now that we’re halfway through the semester, you know your schedule, routines, and most importantly, your limits. Now’s the time to face what you can confidently do and what you might need to let go of. There’s no shame in taking a step back, taking care of your mental and physical health, and being proud of what you’ve done so far.

Productivity is a big thing college promotes. Don’t let it flood your vision. There should be no guilt in taking time away from your laptop.

You can always reach out to campus and State College resources for any additional support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is linked here. Centre County Mental Health can be found here.

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About the Author

Larkin Richards

Larkin is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. The only words that leave her mouth are "yinz" and "dippy eggs." Luckily, her writing has much more substance than that. As a Steelers and Pirates fan, sports can become a hot debate. Share your thoughts on dogs (specifically Boston Terriers) with her at: [email protected]

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