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THE SJSU MA DIARIES

  • Nika Sison

Press Pause: Know When to Resist and Say No

Avoiding burnout and self-doubt can be difficult. With so many opportunities, it’s time to self-reflect and know when it’s okay to say “no” for your own happiness.



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If there’s one takeaway during this online academic year, it should be the importance of maintaining balance. People usually associate balance with physical health (say exercising daily, or even a balanced diet). However, balance should be carried out in all aspects of your life. I’m talking about physical health, mental health, and even your social life.


With hours spent on mobile devices, it’s hard to stay away from the dreadful imposter syndrome. Conversations with friends and family would always somehow segue into talking about career plans. Daily scrolls through your LinkedIn would be filled with multiple posts saying, “I’m so excited to announce that I will be joining [insert name] as an [insert title]!”


Seeing your friends thrive is exciting, but in the back of your mind, you probably end up with the same thought: when will my time come?


When will my time come?

Self-Doubt and Its Consequences



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This internal pressure to succeed will creep up at some point in your life. Seventy percent of adults feel that they are not doing enough. Every job post, every class registration, and every chance can give you a jolt of hope that you may have found that “perfect calling.” You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity when it’s in front of you, right?


My decision to take on a full course load, along with a job and extracurriculars, came to bite me back; it led to a serious burnout period in the fall semester. I was scared that I was not working hard enough and thought that I could do it all during the first fully online semester. Let’s just say that I wish I gave myself more shuteye than late-night anxiety.


It’s okay to feel like you’re behind. It’s also okay to take on opportunities to grow. But the real question now is this: how do you know if the opportunity is right for you?


How do you know if the opportunity is right for you?


It’s about time that you took a step back and truly reflected on your journey. Here’s what you should ask yourself before you give yourself a test run:


What is my ultimate goal?


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If you haven’t already, start by making a 5-year plan of where you hope to be. Your ultimate goal will be the endpoint of this plan. Are you hoping to become a project manager for a tech company? Do you want to run your own business? The 5-year plan is a rough timeline, and goals can always change.


When you take on opportunities, make sure that what you do aligns with your plan. Taking on relevant jobs will make it easier to write your resume and advance in your professional development. If you don’t see an opportunity’s correlation to your ultimate goal, it may not help you in the long run.


What do I get out of it?


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Use each opportunity to make you stronger and more well-rounded. You’re not just doing a job for the sake of helping the company. Each opportunity should be insightful and valuable to your journey. You better be learning new skills while making money.


If there’s no money involved, think about this question in terms of soft skills or your happiness. Will you learn how to be a better communicator? Will you become a more confident leader? Saying “yes” to the wrong opportunities is worse than saying “no” to the right ones.


Will I regret not giving myself a chance?


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Before you close the door on this opportunity, you need to make sure that you are sure of this decision. Many people talk about their biggest regrets in life. Don’t be like them. It is a privilege to challenge yourself!


In terms of job hunting, please remember this: you’re not supposed to fit all of the requirements in the job description. Each position you pursue should challenge you and force you to learn new skills, software, and so on. If there were someone who checked all of those boxes, they would not have posted that job in the first place.


Your time will come.


Photo courtesy of Elena Koycheva via Unsplash.


Everyone’s journey is different. With every celebratory post, there will always be hidden failures and maybe months of grunt work that came with it. Nothing comes easy. Make sure to enjoy the present and smell the roses while working towards your future.


You are just getting started on your journey to success, my friend. If you don’t believe in yourself, know that I always will.


Your time will come, slowly but surely.