written by: Sabrina Bocaranda, Director of Membership
As college students, we are basically paying to think (or at least I hope you’re thinking during your lectures). We think everyday about everything: to-do lists, assignments, jobs, family, friends, due dates, and more. Maybe this is why a lot of us suffer from overthinking. Nowadays, when the pursuit of perfection is the only acceptable career path, it is a risk to leave anything to chance. There is no “winging” an interview or betting on a right answer when you’re counting the seconds of your life on a planner. Although it is important to plan and to think ahead, when we do it too much it can lead to more harm than good.
With all the things we have to juggle in our lives as college students, we sometimes make it worse on ourselves by over thinking about things that have little to no importance. Our imaginations get the best of us and lead us down the rabbit hole into a not-so-wonderful land of problems, mistakes, and endless possibilities of how things can go wrong. For me, this would happen mostly at night right before I went to bed. For others, it happens in the morning as they get ready for another long day. Maybe you are a middle-of-the-day over thinker, when just after lunch you go over a list of all the things you still have to do and think there is no way you can possibly do them. Either way, overthinking will ruin your mood. It can also ruin your health by causing stress and anxiety, which nobody wants more of.
The main reason why we overthink is control. We are all searching for some form of control in our lives. That’s why we’re investing our time now in college; to be able to control our future in some way. We want to control our future jobs and salaries, we may be working hard everyday for an award or recognition. However, there are some things that just cannot be planned for. There is no way of knowing if your teacher will grade your paper in a bad mood or not. There is no way of knowing if your summer internship will eventually lead you to be CEO of the company in 30 years. In Miami, there is no way of knowing if a sunny summer day of 90 degrees will suddenly turn into a downpour and flood your front lawn. Some things are just out of our control. So how do we fight these negative thoughts that sneak into our brain and weaken even our best intentions? Trust.
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not, I promise. I’m not asking you to trust in some magic power of the universe that guarantees everything will be ok. I’m asking you to trust in yourself. Doubt and fear is often a result of us not believing in our own abilities, which often leads to overthinking. When you trust yourself, you know that no matter what happens, you will still be ok. I mean, you’ve gotten to where you are now right? So far, you have faced and overcome the challenges in your life. There may still be more to come, but you’ve got this, as long as you trust yourself. And don’t worry if you think you’ll fail, you are a natural. We are all naturally designed for self trust.
The fight-or-flight response that many years ago people used to decide whether to run away from predators or stay and fight them is still our basic instinct. Although we no longer face hungry animals trying to eat us, our bodies still react the same way to upcoming deadlines, angry bosses and long to-do lists. When faced with a threat, our bodies will release adrenaline, which signals our bodies on what is the best way to get out of trouble. And you may not feel your muscles contracting or your pupils dilating, but you do feel your gut telling you what you should do, if only you would listen. Most of the time you know the right answer, your body tells what is the best choice. That answer that you guessed on number 13 on the test, don’t change it, you picked it for a reason. You feel that the major you’re pursuing is not right for you, change it, no matter what any teacher or advisor says. So stop over thinking about things too far out of your control because whatever happens in the future, you will be able to handle it. Most of the time you know what to do before you even realize it, so as the wise Bob Dylan would say, trust yourself.