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Knowing When to Quit

by Lucia Looz

This semester has probably been the most challenging one I have ever had. The day I was supposed to move to campus, I was admitted to the emergency room. I was literally sending emails to my new professors in my hospital bed letting them know I would be absent for the week, with an IV in my arm.

I was discharged the same night and after another two weeks of doctor appointments, writing emails and different medicines, I was diagnosed with an allergic reaction to the Moderna booster vaccine.

I returned at the beginning of February and it didn’t get much better. Sure, I was on campus now and I could actually attend my classes, but I was trapped in my dorm with two weeks’ worth of missing work in five classes, on top of new work assigned daily. I would pass out before midnight every night and wake up with disappointment in myself for not pulling off an all-nighter.

Additionally, I was supposed to be creating social media posts for my internship in my major’s department, but I couldn’t meet any of the responsibilities I had while drowning in homework. I was given an ultimatum where they needed content that same week, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to produce anything.

So, after a long, hard cry in a Schmidt Hall bathroom, I decided to resign from the position. I knew there would be no way I could complete all of my missing work and create social media posts multiple times throughout the week. I would never see the end of my homework and I knew my grades were already tanking. What would they be like if I juggled both?

I knew it was the best decision despite my inner conflict. Part of me felt like I was throwing away a great opportunity during my junior year, but another part knew I couldn’t take any more of the frustration and pain I was going through. I replied to their email and hitting “send” immediately lifted the pressure from my shoulders.

Even after quitting my internship, I still wasn’t fully caught up until spring break. I was still in danger of failing one of my courses. Who knows how many more warnings I would have received if I decided to continue my internship?

We are all raised in a culture where we are taught to pull up our bootstraps and keep going, no matter how much it hurts or how much you’re struggling. It is what the generations before us lived by, which is why whenever we share what we’re going through, they shut us down. They tell us we haven’t earned the right to be tired of life.

But that’s the thing: you don’t need to earn the right to be burnt out. If it is consistent, then there might be multiple reasons why.

If you look around your dorm and see your garbage overflowing, the huge pile of clothes in your hamper and you haven’t showered in a week, maybe it’s OK to skip class today. Dedicating a day to cleaning your dorm, especially if your environment worsens your mental health and overwhelms you more, is perfectly okay.

If you are in the workplace and you find yourself wondering what went wrong and how much time you’re wasting, maybe it’s time to find a new job. Why put yourself through eight or more hours a day to make yourself miserable? While a full-time job is unfortunately one of the foundations of a living, the misery is never worth the dollar.

This applies to not only jobs but careers, failing non-toxic and toxic relationships, both platonic and romantic. It even applies to admitting you cannot deal with everything on your own.

You cannot quit life because your life is too worthy to quit. If life itself feels so painful and so miserable you have the urge to take it away, you need to find support from trusted people and professionals. You also need to improve areas of your life that make you feel that way, perhaps through quitting. Maybe you need to quit one thing so you don’t feel like quitting everything else.

Letting go of everything harmful to you is one of the best things you can do for yourself. There is no shame in quitting, no matter what anyone tells you. Knowing when to quit is one of the best skills you can have, for yourself and your life.

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