Students must balance involvement with well-being

Make friends; maintain a good GPA; attend school events; join extracurriculars; rush; work out; be readily available for a constant flood of emails; prepare for graduate school; take on leadership roles. These are just several examples of many more pressures that students endure to be “perfect.”

Reading the above list, most students have a peer that pops into their head. Everyone knows the person who seems to do it all. How can today’s college students attain this level of perfection?

They can’t.

Impostor syndrome is a real affliction in today’s excessively connected world. No matter what a student may accomplish or how they spend the hours of their day, most believe they could do more.

While it’s impossible to apply the same standard to everyone, most students are not falling short of the mark, but are instead affected by the grandeur projected by their peers.

Between the Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram pictures, even the most average student can be placed on an impossibly high pedestal.

Some simply accept their perceived shortcomings, while others struggle to keep up. But, at what cost?

Students (especially honors students) develop an inability to turn down the next ‘step up,’ the next leadership position or chance to volunteer. Students find themselves sacrificing their hobbies, health and sanity to achieve perfection.

Perhaps a better takeaway from college than the ability to ‘do it all’ is the ability to self-evaluate.

In college, there is an integrated support system. The advisors and mentors in a collegiate environment all understand students are just that—students— first and foremost. In the following years, many will find this safety net is no longer present.

If, in the workforce, an individual takes on one too many responsibilities, there will not be grace in dropping something just because it’s a low priority. Commitments will be more concrete, and those unable to cope will be seen as incompetent.

To avoid falling into this trap in the future, students must be able to identify it now.

It is imperative that today’s college generation learns to take a step back. There is no shame in turning down the extra weekly commitment for gym time. The world will not end when some of your volunteer hours becomes time allotted for self-care.

College is about growth. Instead of growing into a machine that mindlessly fulfills as many responsibilities as possible, grow into a functional individual who can take care of him or herself.

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