Sarah Lewis is a Senior Fashion Design major at Philadelphia University, with a minor in Romance Languages. She studied abroad for the Fall 2013 semester and absolutely loved being able to travel to many countries, and ate every kind of food imaginable. She has had many internships in the fashion industry, and is currently a freelance designer and also founded and runs all of Philadelphia University Fashion Design’s social media platforms. Volunteering is something that is very important to her, so she taught a third grade class twice a week in Philly, and is now part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In her free time, she loves exploring new places, hanging out with her friends, and thrifting.
It’s hard to say no to someone when they ask for a favor or want you to join their cause. Volunteer at the local animal shelter for the weekend? Okay. Tutor at the local elementary school once a week for the rest of the year? Sure. Help organize a few events on campus? Sounds fun. Edit your roommate’s paper? Certainly. The list goes on and on, but do you really have time to fit babysitting your baby niece in between accepting your friend’s invitation to meet for a long lunch to catch up, and oh yeah actually putting a dent in that small mountain of homework that never seems to diminish? Not really. It’s hard to say no to friends and family who need your help with something, especially when they look at you with desperate eyes (I know the look well). You also want to be active on your school’s campus, but there really just aren’t enough hours in the day when you’re trying to do it all and be part of every organization on campus. We need to learn how to say “No” sometimes so that we aren’t running ourselves ragged and stretching ourselves too thin. When you start sacrificing every second of your day, it becomes more like a chore than something that you truly enjoy. Simply saying that your schedule is absolutely crazy that week and maybe you could do it another time means that you will in fact have an hour to yourself to eat a real meal (canned soup, although delicious, doesn’t count), or go to the gym, or even just lay in your bed wearing sweats and devouring an episode or two or three (no judgment) of your favorite show on Netflix. Whatever it is, that hour of free time can change your entire outlook on life and lets you finally take a deep breath.
The key to fitting everything into your schedule is to prioritize what is most important, and do as much as you can without becoming overwhelmed. I’m always afraid that I’m going to hurt the person’s feelings by saying no, and I feel obligated to slap a smile on my face and say, “Of course I’ll design an entire line of clothing for you in a week”. I have to therefore sacrifice other things that I have to get done like my own schoolwork. I love helping others and volunteer as much as I possibly can, but it’s important for me to remember that we are not superheroes and cannot move at hyper speed, even though we wish we could. Saying no is okay and perfectly acceptable to say every now and then. So the next time you get a text from your friend asking if you could sew an entire dress for her to wear to an event in just a few hours, politely decline and suggest a quick trip to the mall instead to find something amazing. Your body and mind will thank you for this new outlook on the word “No.”