Learn how to say “no”

Life is basically just a series of commitments. Starting from when you were a little kid you committed to your first sports team or your first art class, up through high school when you made a commitment to attend Luther, or now, when you have to make a commitment to a major. Eventually, you will have to commit to a full-time-job and potentially a family. We have become accustomed to over commitments and being inundated with tasks.

As we get older, the commitments we make seem to be getting bigger and bigger, which puts pressure on us as we learn how to be real adults. I thin for a lot of people this issue reaches a peak in college, especially at an institution at Luther where it is almost expected that everyone is involved in seven different organizations, on at least one executive board, and also involved in one sports team or music ensemble at a minimum.

The issue arises when you make a commitment but can’t stick to it. For example, we’ve all been in a situation where we had to complete a group project for class and one of our group members dropped the ball in some way, such as forgetting to do their PowerPoint slides or not attending group meetings. This is frustrating especially because group projects require a certain level of commitment to our classmates. By not honoring this commitment, the group as a whole struggles. This is unacceptable, especially since we’re all stressed out college students who don’t need any more on our plates. However, I’m here to say that I have a solution for you: learn to say no.

Learning how to say no is one of the best things that you an do for your mental health and well-being. If I could go back, to when I would tell myself to choose one organization to focus my energy, rather than signing up for every group that sounded interesting. It would be a more effective use of my time rather than spreading myself too thin and not being able to be fully involved in anything. Learning how to say no is also a necessary life skill because there will be times in your life when people will ask you to overexert yourself past your capabilities, and it is important to only take on the tasks that you know you can handle.

If you learn how to say no, you won’t have as many commitments to worry about keeping and it will make your life easier as well as the lives of those around you.

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.

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