Maymester sounded like such a good idea back in April when I was registering for classes. A whole semester in just two and a half weeks? Who wouldn’t want to get a whole class credit before summer even really starts? It sounded like an incredible opportunity. And it was. The problem is, fitting an entire class into two and a half weeks is extremely difficult. It means you have to work hard. Really hard. And I wasn’t fully prepared for that.
The first day of class, I came in wide-eyed and prepared (I thought) for anything. I figured I would do a little reading, take a couple of tests, listen to some lectures, and be on my way. But I was in for a surprise. Instead of listening to a lecture on the first day, I had a group discussion with my professor about what the class would entail, and it was vastly different from what I had expected. There was a lot of self-directed learning involved, and a much bigger time commitment than I had anticipated. This class was going to force me to work hard and stretch my brainpower. By the end of the first class, I was feeling totally overwhelmed. I had no idea how I was going to pull this off.
The truth is that we all get overwhelmed sometimes. Maybe we set our expectations too low and get surprised like I did. Maybe we just find ourselves in a situation that requires more of us than we think we are able to give. But no matter what the circumstance is, we’re all overwhelmed from time to time. And when that happens, the first impulse is to give up. To throw our hands up in the air, declare that we just can’t do it, and walk away. But that’s not the correct response at all.
Because usually the feeling of being overwhelmed is a temporary one. It’s a result of getting a wealth of information and expectation at one time and not being able to process it. Once we can step away for a second, breathe, and think things through, we find that things aren’t really as overwhelming as they seem. Yes, my Maymester class is going to take up every free second I have from now until the end of the month, but honestly, it’s not that different from regular school. I’m just spending all my time on one class instead of four. But it’s not overhwelming; it’s manageable.
And maybe sometimes we do find ourselves in situations that are truly overwhelming. In those cases, we have to learn to trim the fat and focus on the things that matter the most. Maybe that means some items on the checklist go undone and someone gets upset with us. If that’s what has to happen, then so be it. Ultimately, you can only do as much as you’re capable of doing, and being overwhelmed by too much expectation is something that happens to all of us.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, know you’re not alone. I’m there now, and a lot of other people are there, too. If you take a step back, you may see that things aren’t as heavy as they seem. If so, carry on. But if you’re really in a situation that’s just too much for you, it may be time to think about things you can get rid of to get to a healthy place. Either way, feeling overwhelmed is temporary and can be dealt with, if you’ll do it in the right way. Good luck, friends, and I’ll see you soon!