What to Do When Your Plate is Too Full

Before I begin, allow me to come clean—I had planned to write this back in November. 

Quite obviously, I am no master of time management. But heading into a new semester provides us with a fresh start and the opportunity to evaluate where we are and where we want to go. 

Now, thanks to online schooling, students are experiencing more mental and emotional fatigue than in past years. However, students’ schedules are about as jam-packed as usual, in addition to stressors associated with a pandemic. By the end of the fall semester, I’m sure a lot of us were feeling completely worn and torn down. Commitments had piled up, which left many overwhelmed (myself most certainly included). 

As we head into another semester of virtual learning, it’s important to remind ourselves to be kind to our minds and bodies. If that means that you have to step back from something you were involved in pre-pandemic, that is okay. Taking some time for yourself is not failing or giving up. In this time, more than ever, it is of the utmost importance to prioritize your mental and physical health. 

The most vital thing you could do to prevent an overwhelming and crippling amount of stress this semester is to set boundaries for yourself. 

Personally, as a freshman this year, I wanted to sign up for anything and everything that sparked my interest. I figured that, since I wasn’t going to get out and meet people the old-fashioned way, I’d make some friends with similar interests in the RSOs I would join. After the first month of classes, I felt drained from telling myself that, if I missed a meeting, I would lose any bond I had made with my peers. This was such an unrealistic and harmful expectation I had put on myself, and it began to take its toll. It had gotten to a point where I had to set some boundaries for myself; I wanted to be able to enjoy myself at these meetings without becoming fatigued and weighed down with constant GroupMe notifications and Zoom calls.  

As classes begin for the Spring semester, evaluate how full you feel your plate is. Take a moment to separate what things you are involved in that truly bring you joy and what things fatigue and wear you out. There is only so much time in your day and in your college years to devote to things like clubs and activities, so don’t feel obligated to spend that time on things that do not bring you joy. 



Class of 2024
I’m a social work major with a passion for people and the betterment of society. Listening to my friends share their experiences sparked my love for the University of Illinois, so I can’t wait to share my own with prospective and incoming students!

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