Know when to say ‘no’: Setting your priorities as a UC Berkeley student

Nishali Naik/Staff

Related Posts

To all overwhelmed UC Berkeley students: 

When is enough, enough? Why are we putting so much on our plates? Will we even be able to “eat” it all? What don’t I want to compromise? What do I need to be a healthy and happy human?

I really hope y’all are asking yourselves these types of questions. If not, it may be time to call Houston, ‘cause we have a problem! While UC Berkeley students do come off as superhumans, the reality is that many of us are simply overwhelmed.

Yes, be a stellar student and have a couple of extracurricular activities. But taking 20 units, being a committed club member, teaching a DeCal, working a job, looking for housing, being an activist, applying to summer internships and having an active social life all at the same time is a bit extra. For those of you who somehow thrive in all of the chaos, love all the things you are a part of and still have time to take care of your basic needs, awesome for you! The Clog definitely applauds you. However, for the rest of you overachievers, it’s time to practice saying “No.”

In order to say “No” to the things or opportunities that come up for us, it is so crucial to check in with ourselves. And what’s a better way to check in than a series of reflective questions. Below you can find questions that you may want to consider asking yourself the next time you feel overwhelmed. Feel free to add the aforementioned questions in the first paragraph of this post to the list below.

The main question:

  • Have I checked in with myself lately to see what my actual priorities are and if they make sense for me?

The follow-up questions:

  • Why am I doing what I’m doing?
  • What does it mean to be productive? 
  • Where am I right now? 
  • Where am I headed? Why and how?
  • Am I present or constantly planning ahead, looking to the future? 
  • How fast am I moving, and why am I going at this pace?

It is so important that we take the time to really think about what we are doing and why we are doing it. After taking the time to really engage with these questions, hopefully, some clarity will arise. And with that clarity, perhaps the practice of saying “No” will be in better use. Many of us already feel clear and confident in the things that we are doing. For example, we may feel as though we have the perfect proportion of things on our plates. That’s seriously awesome! But for those of you who are unpleasantly overwhelmed or overstuffed with activities, events and things on your agendas, consider setting your priorities so you know when to say “No.”

Contact Gina Wright [email protected].