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Overwhelmed, exhausted from rat race

Dear V,

I can’t believe it’s gotten to this point, but for some reason this semester has been tougher than any other in college or high school. I have my five classes that to any student would not be considered difficult. They aren’t, but keeping up with the workload this semester has proven more challenging than expected. Keeping up friendships is not easy, especially when my closest friends don’t go to UM and especially when there’s always something going on-the drama never ends. Starting a new relationship is much more difficult than I dreamed. Keeping up at home with my parents and trying to be helpful rather than a burden is near impossible.

I’m a perfectionist in ways I didn’t even know it. My sister and my mom think I took on too much this semester, but five classes and work don’t seem so crazy to me. I can do it. I know I can.

But if I can, why is it so hard to get through a week, a day…?

I’m tired beyond belief. My brain works in short spurts. I’m struggling to keep up, and I hate getting mediocre grades. I expect more from myself because I know I can do it.

Suddenly, though, I feel I’m less and less of what I thought I was. Just the thought of possibly taking only 12 credits next semester makes me feel nauseous and like a failure, but I don’t know what else to do.

How do I go back to enjoying the work and the fun in my life? Taking less credits shows that I can’t handle what everyone else seems to be doing fine on. What do I do to keep my sanity and my health?

Please, help me figure out how to save me from myself…

Exhausted and feeling like a failure

Dear Reader,

Please stop yourself in your tracks and listen to what I have to say because your problem is not uncommon to people who expect a level of astonishing accomplishment from themselves: You are being too critical and way too harsh on yourself. Let us not forget that you are a human being with passion, talent and lots to offer. You are not, however, a programmed machine who is capable of giving of yourself 24/7. You are allowed to get exhausted! Anyone who thinks that they can do it all and be legitimately happy is kidding themselves. Believe me, I’ve tried the five hours of sleep per night and put on the obligatory “I want to kill myself” smile life-that kind of lifestyle is not living, and it doesn’t work. The quality of your work and what you give is much better than the quantity of the work that you do. Let’s be honest here, we are surrounded by a fair share of peers who are burnt out grumps because they take on too much and only do satisfactory jobs; you’re only kicking yourself in the ass if you expect the best but don’t have the time to make the best happen.

This leads me to another subliminal problem lurking around in your letter. You need to stop comparing yourself to other people. Thank God we’re not all carbon copies of one another, only the same tasks would get done over and over again! Instead, you need to recognize and ascertain your strengths, your weaknesses and your interests and put them to work for you. Screw other people; you’re never going to live if you’re bumming around in their accomplishments instead of striving towards your own. Sure, Bobbo might be the president of every club around, but does he have any real friends? Does he get any sleep? Is he happy besides the fact that he is going to have a three-page resume? You need to involve yourself in activities for the sole reason that you have genuine interest in them, not because you feel obliged and pressured by your “superior” peers. I have a feeling that this mini rat race you’ve got going on in your head is what is overwhelming you.

So, from here, it’s time to decide what is a must and what must go. Obviously school is your number one priority. You’re at college to learn about the unreliable narration schemes of Jane Austen and the chi-squared test, not to run around from one meeting to the next like a headless chicken. After you’ve established your academic schedule, your second priority should be friends and family. You will be miserable without them. Remember what John Donne said: “No man is an island unto himself,” and no one likes to be around agitated, bitchy islands, which is what you will turn into if you don’t heed Donne’s message. Yet, even before you establish any type of rigorous schedule for yourself, you need to take care of your own primary needs first because you’re not going to make it through the day without sleep and proper nutrition. Keep your mental health in check! If you neglect yourself before neglecting the exterior world, you are going to end up physically and emotionally exhausted if not in the midst of a mental breakdown-they happen to college students more often than we’d like to admit to ourselves.

Best of Luck!

V.

Fact O’ the Day…According to a 1996 study, men from New York produce the highest amount of sperm in the country, while men from L.A. produce the least…

Dear V is published every Tuesday and Friday. All submissions are anonymous and confidential. She can be reached at dearv@hotmail.com or in the office of The Hurricane.

March 11, 2005

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.