I’ve been told that regardless of the circumstances, that if I work hard, I will always succeed. As a First Generation student (the first in my family to attend higher education), I’ve grown up with this mantra…work and always work hard. But sometimes working hard is not enough.
Through different stages in my life, both in higher education, volunteer opportunities, part-time jobs, student clubs, and personal projects, I’ve often wondered if it was ever okay to just quit.
I’ve been through it — two bachelor degrees, working at minimum wage for 25hrs/wk with 40hrs/wk of school (plus homework/study hours included), volunteering for anything and everything that could possibly fit into my schedule, and then, if there was a spare moment, I’d clock in about 4 hours of sleep each night.
I worked hard, and for the most part, I loved it, but sometimes the opportunities that should have given me valuable experiences were just making me feel incredibly unhappy.
So two years ago, I began a personal movement…I asked myself, when is it okay to quit?
Quitting DOES NOT make you a loser or a failure. Quitting DOES NOT mean you lack commitment or you lack motivation. Sometimes you need to quit in order to protect your mental health.
Sure, there were times when I felt like quitting school (who hasn’t?) but I knew my education was important, so I turned to friends for support. Learning to ask for help is a big part of “growing up” and sometimes you need someone else to help you review your goals and point you in the right direction.
It’s not like quitting after you’re frustrated about not being able to solve an advanced calculus problem. It’s not like realizing that you’ve failed yet another exam and are ready to throw in the towel. No, quitting is what you decide for your yourself and for your future. Quitting is something you may need to do to achieve happiness.
And for me, that meant starting over again with a future that allowed me to nurture my creativity. I left the opportunities that didn’t respect my work (those who consistently arrived late to appointments, those who expected me to bend over backwards to fit their schedule/timeline, those who took advantage of my kindness and made me to feel bad about my choices).
I’m almost sorry that it took me this long to find such freedom, but “growing up” takes time. And even those who may seem like they have their entire life in order, may not have everything in order after all.
Remember: When things look like they’re impossible, there’s always a way out…
Quitting = opening new doors and walking down new paths to find a place you can call home
This post was inspired by how this person made ‘failure’ work in her favour I’m Failing and It’s Okay