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#HonorsProblems: Letting Go

The following blog post was written by peer advisor Ellen, a GWSB junior studying international business.

College is a journey. It is a time of maturity, and as students we undergo significant personal, professional, and intellectual growth. Our identities change every year, we discover ourselves more and more, and sometimes the commitments we make in our beginning years here are not what we want anymore, and more specifically, not what we want to make time for anymore.

Our responsibilities increase the older we become; responsibilities to ourselves, our family, our work, our future. The freshman experience is like no other: everything is new and exciting, you join groups, classes are easy, and eventually find your people. By sophomore year, classes have geared up, you need to decide a major, you think about internships and professionalism, you assume leadership positions. By junior year, you work hard because classes are hard, your communities are set, you have a deeper understanding of yourself, and discover the things that truly make you happy. By senior year, you are practically an adult; living off campus, cooking, budgeting, thinking about the future, with less and less to see friends. Free time is precious, and the less time we have, the more meaningful this time must be spent.

You are responsible for your college experience, and it may take any shape or form you would like. An activity you are involved in freshman year may lose its value as you discover other passions and activities you are interested in, and that’s okay. As your identity changes, so will your activities. A group you join your freshman year does not have to be a four-year commitment. A best friend from high school does not have to be a best friend forever. Pursuing an activity, regardless of its benefit, solely because you’ve done it before and not because you truly enjoy it, should raise a red flag. Take a step back to periodically self-reflect and ask yourself: do your extracurricular activities and friendships make you happy? Do you look forward to doing them? Will you miss them if you stop? Think long and answer honestly, and if the answer these questions is no, consider letting go. Think of the other activities and interests you could purse during this time that would bring you much more enjoyment and satisfaction. This doesn’t mean to drop every activity to look for the better option. Use the self-reflection period as a cleansing exercise to let go of the past and realize when it is time to move on.

The realization is the first step, but following through and letting go of an activity is even harder. You will leave a community, friends, and a part of yourself behind. While this is difficult, your happiness is worth it. Embrace the change in your identity and make peace with the realization you have outgrown this friendship, activity, etc. Have faith that your true friends will understand and support you if letting go is a decision that is truly best for you. You decide what is worth making time for, and only you know the answer.