Opinion: Know your limits

Bruce Walton is a senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at bwalton4@kent.edu.

Bruce Walton is a senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Bruce Walton

This semester has been one of the most rewarding ones I’ve ever had. I’ve met wonderful, talented people and worked in a job I loved. Although I was having a great time doing what I loved and honing my craft, I was having the worst semester academically.

To put this semester into perspective, I’m in four clubs and organizations, I have a job and write two stories a week on average for the Daily Kent Stater. I’m also a boyfriend, a reporter, an outreach coordinator, a columnist and, most importantly, a student. And that is what I forgot this semester. I am, above anything else, a student, and I took on too much responsibility to accomplish doing that job well.

At the risk of sounding like an old man, when you’re young, you really think that you can do anything, that you’re invincible and can never slow down. I’ve done so much this semester. I pulled two semi-all-nighters almost every week.

Do you know what one of the most frustrating feelings is? It’s to work constantly — to write, to report, to show up at meetings and interviews, to lose hours of sleep, to study for tests — just to find you’re barely making it in every area. The ultimate pain of working hard and having nothing to show for it — that’s what I’ve put myself through this semester, and it’s something I’d never wish on any student.

If you’re like me, you know what you want to do and you just want to be a part of everything and never say no, then listen to me right now.

I won’t say slow down, but I will tell you that you’re here for something more than socializing. As one of my professors told me this week, “You can do everything you can outside of school, but if your grades aren’t good, it doesn’t matter.”

I don’t know, maybe I’m talking to the wind. Maybe I’m one of the few overachievers who never say no and screw themselves over. Somehow, I don’t think I am because it’s mortifying to work so hard and look like you’ve done nothing on your transcript. It makes you feel guilty when someone sees you running around and says you have a bright future ahead of you when you get average grades and you don’t want to tell anyone.

If you know how I feel and if you think you lost, you didn’t. I’ve got enough references and positions and accomplishments to fill two pages on my resume, and I’m happy for it, but I know I took on way too much.

And that is why, with a heavy heart, I will be stepping down as a columnist for the Stater next semester. I might be back, but college isn’t cheap, and I need to focus on my courses. Happy holidays, and thank you to all the readers I’ve moved and who have sent me emails and comments — good or bad. You added to the discussion and made my job worthwhile. And for students who feel like they need to do everything, just remember to take a step back, take a deep breath and know your limits.