For me, work was never tiring.
Through high school and college, I have always been the person who takes on several jobs and internships at once. During my freshman year of college, I was a full-time student who worked two online internships. I did all of this while running my non-profit organization, The Love Your Natural Self Foundation. While I found myself getting overwhelmed at some points, I had mastered the skill of time management. So, despite all of my roles, I still found the time to do things I enjoy and relax.
When I learned this summer that I had received the FirstGEN fellowship, a fellowship that allowed me spend the summer interning in Washington, D.C., I was immediately filled with joy. I loved working, and working at a social justice non-profit was a dream come true.
I went into the summer strong and confident. I was going to work full-time, while continuing to run my non-profit and work my two virtual internships. I felt excited and ambitious all at the same time.
My first week of work hit me hard. Everything I thought I could handle was suddenly becoming too much. After spending the day at work, I honestly wanted to come home and relax. I didn’t have time to relax, however, because I wanted to continue balancing all of my other roles. I immediately grew overwhelmed. I was extremely tired and my body was telling me to take a break, but I continued to work hard, hoping I could ignore it.
By week two, I knew I could no longer ignore the extreme stress I was feeling. Two weeks after coming to D.C., I faced an extremely difficult experience and I needed some time to cope and relax. I decided to take a break from my non-profit work and focus on healing and enjoying my summer.
This was extremely hard for me. Self-care had always been a priority in my life, but it was always something that I could work into my schedule. This time, I had to change my schedule for self-care.
When I got home from work, I took time to relax. I took time to lay in bed and eat ice-cream and have dinner with my roommates. I took time to go for a run around the Washington Monument and explore D.C. I truly took time for myself, and that is something I had not done in a long time.
Work stopped feeling so exhausting. I was able to go into the office and truly enjoy my job. I’ve heard many friends swear that they will never work traditional 9-5 jobs because they are scared of falling into a routine and resenting their work someday. For me, everyday at work was an adventure. Working at a non-profit dedicated to social justice meant being surrounded by people who were filled with passion and persistence.
As the summer progressed, I learned to better cope with my new schedule. I slowly introduced my non-profit work back into my life. I only took on what I could handle and realized, that at the end of the day, it was all about finding the right balance.
When I came into the summer, I expected to work a routine job that I could easily handle.
By the end of the summer, I realize that my job is no where near a routine. From attending events on the Capitol to balancing several projects at once, the work is definitely filled with adventure. It is also consuming, both in time and in energy. By working at a social justice organization, I am working on topics that I am extremely passionate about. We are fighting injustice, which can often be physically and mentally exhausting.
Because of this, it’s important to find the perfect work-life balance. While this definitely is not easy, it is possible. As someone who used to think she could take on any amount of work, it was hard for me to take breaks and relax. When I did, however, I fell more in love with the work that I was doing. I became a happier person and enjoyed my summer in D.C., which is something I’ll always be grateful for.
It’s okay to love your work and love getting off of work all at the same time.
I have loved every second of my internship in D.C. this summer. I have loved every second of running my non-profit. I am in love with my work, and it’s a big part of who I am.
However, my work is not the only part of who I am. There is so much more to me and the things I love and I deserve to explore those things.