During the Connections Conference, I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Suzy Herman about Leadership and being worn out. I was very excited to attend this session because as a college student nearing the end of my first semester, I was getting a little worn out.
What the ordinary person doesn’t realize is that leadership isn’t just a switch that can be turned on and off. Student leaders, like myself and members of my LAS Cohort, are being leaders twenty-four hours, seven days a week. We’re full-time students, involved in multiple organizations, have leadership roles, have jobs, have a social life, and we’re trying to balance all of that at one time. We’re also devoted to helping others in any way that we possibly can, even if it means sacrificing something from ourselves. At times, being a student leader can be pretty overwhelming.
Suzy Herman’s session was a breath of fresh air; it was everything I really needed to hear. During the session, we identified personal signs we are worn out (like binge-watching a season of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix when you have two five page papers and a presentation due tomorrow). It was very comforting hearing other students share their experiences with being overwhelmed trying to balance being a leader with everything else. I was happy to hear that I wasn’t alone. It was also very beneficial to discuss various strategies of how to get out of a leadership rut.
If you’re reading this and you are feeling stressed, worn out, or overwhelmed, remember this:
Take each day, one at a time. It seems simple and cheesy enough to be put on one of those generic classroom posters, but it works. Trying to accomplish everything at once is unrealistic and will make you want to crawl back into bed and eat a large chocolate bar. The solution usually boils down to one or both of these: either do something or stop doing everything.
This session reminded me that it is essential as a student leader, even during finals week, to take a little time every day to renew myself and rejuvenate.