College Crisis: Just Say No

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.

ShantelleWilliams.CollegeCrisis (2)For whatever reason, I’m one of those people who wants everybody to like them. I always say “I don’t really care if somebody doesn’t like me,” but the truth is, it eats away at me for weeks if I find out somebody isn’t fond of me.

That’s one of the reasons I can’t say one of the shortest words in the English language: No.

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m comfortable around you (basically my family and friends that I’ve had since elementary school), I’ll throw that word around like it’s my job. But for people who I’ve only known since starting college or who I’ve just recently met, I don’t think “no” is in my vocabulary.

The other reason I’m incapable of turning people down is because I’m afraid it’ll come back to haunt me. I’m constantly picking up extra shifts at work, taking notes for people I barely know and giving out my last piece of gum.

The way I see it: If I was in their position of needing a shift covered or I wolfed down an onion bagel while running out the door and ran out of gum, I’d want that little bit of help.

There are two problems with me helping out: It tires me out, and not everybody is nearly as willing to help me even though I bend over backwards for them.

With that, I started to realize something: Saying “yes” to everything isn’t going to make people like or respect me the way I want them to. Instead, they’re going to take advantage of me. That girl that always needs my notes but never shows up to class doesn’t want to grab lunch with me.

Lately, I’ve started to say that dreaded two letter word to people. After a grueling 9 hour shift on State Patty’s, I walked in my apartment at 4 PM and got a text asking if I could cover a 6:30 AM shift that next day. I almost said, “Of course!” because I can always use more money. But then, I thought about how tired I was and how much homework I had and that exam I had on Monday. So I said no.

Initially, I felt awful about it (her lack of response certainly did nothing to ease my suffering), but when I woke up refreshed the next morning, I didn’t care that my coworker was probably angry with me. I decided that I wasn’t going to let it bother me.

For the most part, we choose what we let eat away at us. I’ve resolved to no longer think that putting my needs first makes me a bad person. I respect people who stand up for themselves – who knows who will gain respect for me now.

That’s not to say that I’ll never cover a shift again or that I won’t send my notes to somebody who was too sick to go to class. I will – just on my own terms.

Photo by Shantelle Williams

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