UD students are engaged students. Some do research. Others partake in extra-curricular activities. Many work. Everyone owns an individual part of the university through their involvement.


However, students can get greedy. They may want more than one college experience. They want to make as many memories as possible.


It seems that I’m the type of student who falls into this category. I want more than one piece of UD- I want to live the full college experience! I stretch myself between three registered student organizations and two jobs. I have not one, not two, but five college “stories.” I’ve gotten exactly what I’ve signed up for.


But then, my activities ask for a part of me, and I can’t reciprocate. Can I edit seven articles to send to corporate? Can I make an outside improv opportunity to perform? Can I film on Thursday, during my roommate’s birthday dinner?


Sometimes, you have to say no. I’m learning that now. I’m learning that what I’ve taken for myself is sometimes too much.


Artistic rendering of “too much”

This is not a unique situation. Many of my friends experience similarly conflicted schedules. We complain about being overly-involved, asking if our professors get together and plan tests on the same day on purpose. We blame organizers for not spacing events out enough, conspiring that someone is out to get us.


The reality is, we’ve set up a schedule that is out to get itself. We must turn some things down, even if we want to be a part of it. We want to volunteer to help students apply to colleges. Of course we want to become a Peer Mentor- it’ll fit somewhere right?


Not always.


We must learn to treasure the opportunities we took. It’s okay to not apply to be a Writing Fellow! Enjoy being a tutor at the Writing Center. It’s ok to miss Ag day on South campus for a Frisbee tournament! Cherish the winning catch rather than ruminate on the missed UDairy. Love the moments you got in the first place.


We must also learn that there is no shame in saying no. Perhaps someone is afraid to turn down an opportunity for fear they might be seen as weak. There is pride in being able to balance a full load and shame in showing stress. This, however, is all self-imposed.


I am not weaker by turning down a producer’s part in an upcoming filming. I am not a bad student for crunching in a policy event report last minute. I am not a bad friend for not being able to get lunch because I need a nap.


We are not weaker students by saying no to opportunities. We are strong students with wonderful stories to tell as is. And while taking a lot on our plate might be our nature, it is not a requirement.


Learning to say no is part of growing as a college student, and boy are we growing.

~Shannon Poulsen


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