Give Yourself a Break

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021

Editor's Column

Give Yourself a Break

Busyness and Business as Usual Can Wait

by Nicole Patano ’22

During the first week of the semester, I explained all of the plans I had for The Cowl with childlike naïvaté to Fr. Jordan. After I finished, he said to me, “Let’s talk again in a few weeks.” Now 10 weeks into the semester, I’m expecting an “I told you so” from Fr. Jordan any day now. 

Olivia wrote an opinion piece for this week’s issue on burnout and the need for rest in the schedules of college students. This time of the semester, Olivia argues, is when burnout is most prevalent among people our age. 

In theory, we had the summer to recuperate after we all hit the proverbial wall last semester. In reality, we were catching up on all of the things we missed out on because of the COVID-19 pandemic: work, internships, seeing friends and family, traveling. Since then, it’s been a constant game of catch-up. Instead of looking forward to weekends and holiday breaks to see family, have fun, and go to bed at a reasonable time, I use them as markers for when I can finally do the class readings that I merely skimmed, reply to the emails I’ve flagged but left unanswered, and begin working on the following week’s assignments. 

One of the issues is that despite dealing with the consequences of the pandemic (physical, mental, and otherwise), we’re attempting to operate at the social, intellectual, and physical levels we were at before the pandemic. Moreover, we are, in many cases, overcompensating for not having been “all there” this past year. 

Even though we’re back in person, it is unrealistic to continue with business as usual. Treat yourself and others with grace and compassion during this time. You’re not a bad person for skipping dinner with friends or turning in an assignment late. As important as your education and social life are, your mental health must be your number one priority. Which brings me to the second piece of advice Fr. Jordan gave me: “You can’t please everyone.” As much as you may want to give everyone you know an arm and a leg, at some point, you’re sure to run out of limbs.