Competitive and Destructive Mindsets During Quarantine – Hannah Nguyen

As we approach fall, one might see their friends interning, earning good grades, or even establishing their own organizations. One might ask, “how do they get accepted?” while another might think “this person is at such a high level, while I’m here rotting my life away.”

Back in March, focus on social media skyrocketed as people relied on the internet to bring them the comfort that was once the physical forms of their friends. With this surge came insecurities and a competitive mindset, as those who were freed of time restrictions took advantage of the situation to work more.

Fortunately, mentors such as Jonathan Tesser, Chris Do, Akosua Boadi-Agyemang, and Madison Butler exist on LinkedIn, as do other people spreading positive energy on other apps. These inspirational people post messages of positivity and perseverance almost every day, connecting with hundreds to offer advice on job searching and self-improvement. Topics of posts can range from discussing how to utilize resources and connections the right way, to something silly to take your mind off of worries, offering serenity to overworked brain cells. Sadly, people tend to follow a large number of people, and receive more than motivational messages on their feed; and at times, it may be a notification that someone has accepted a new position.

As a result of a bustling online and local community, one might feel an urge to improve their resume building or interview skills, or become discouraged at the prospect of future goals. For context, the competition for positions has rapidly increased over time, along with the insistence that hard work is equivalent to a better future. While this is true to an extent, many suggest that working smart is more beneficial and efficient in the long run (also known as quality over quantity).

Hence, as students and professionals begin to accept more work, they often fail to evaluate their personal limits and take into consideration the web of relaxing spots at home. As their minds associate comfortable areas in their homes as a place to rest, it is likely that finding motivation and allocating time to work becomes a difficult task, prompting procrastination, late night work, and a messed up sleep schedule. Many would react by brushing it off as a one-time occurrence. However, as much as a positive mood change might help in moving on, burnout is bound to occur sooner or later. By deciding to ignore the consequences of repetitive overworking habits, these people also dismiss the idea of exhaustion until it is too late. For instance, a student taking 6 AP classes plus several other extracurricular activities might struggle with workload, but persist with college in mind; this mentality is inefficient and unhealthy.

A tip for those overworking: take a break from social media, organize your responsibilities into one full list, think about which tasks you enjoy or those that will help you overall, then drop the rest. Preserve your mentality, set your own pace, and don’t get swept up by any currents.

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