If there is one warning people have given to me time and time again, it is this: Don't spread yourself too thin. When I was younger, I would heed that advice, but as I grew older, I realized my answer to that warning: I don't spread myself too thin; there's just a lot of me to go around.
Last week, I pulled an all-nighter, only to realize around 8:30 the next morning that half of my paper had deleted itself (or maybe I accidentally deleted it, don't judge). The paper was due at 6 p.m. that evening, and I work a full-time job as a teacher. I spent the entire day frantically re-writing the paper I had spent countless hours perfecting the entire week before in between lessons and during the students' seat-work. I finished the paper, but I knew it was definitely not my best work, so I went to my professor's office before class to explain myself.
Although my professor was not necessarily sympathetic, she offered me words of advice with which I am all too familiar.
"Miss Miller, law school is not a sprint; it's a marathon. Every time I see you, you seem so frazzled. You have so much going on, why don't you just relax sometimes? Take one thing on at a time. I think you have a tendency to spread yourself too thin." I had kept it together all day, but at that moment, wherein my professor was trying to give me some motherly, helpful advice, tears began to well in my eyes. I blinked them away and thanked her for her kindness and understanding, telling her I would see her in class in an hour, wherein I would turn in my not-so-perfect paper.
A week later, during my writing conference with that professor regarding that same paper, she told me that mine was one of the best one she had looked at so far, calling the paper "very solid," and commenting on how well I write.
Upon reflection, I realized that in the times I am accused of spreading myself too thin, I always realize how incredible I really am, and just how much I can actually do, and do well. Just when I think I have limits, I surprise myself and pass them.
The thing about people who tend to spread themselves too thin is that what they may lack in general time dedicated to a specific task, they make up for in quality, genuine hard work, and sheer will. The ones who are spread too thin know how to time manage and organize. They know their limits, but they aren't afraid to test whether or not they can pass them.
To my fellow overachievers: we may not be the brightest students, but we are the hardest workers. We are "yes-people," and we can always be counted on to do a good job, despite what ever else may be on our plates. We might procrastinate, but we get it done. We might have breakdowns, but we persist. We might drink too much coffee, get too little sleep, and forget what human interaction is sometimes, but we always excel.
So here an ode to the people who are accused of spreading themselves too thin:
We believe sleep is for the weak (or the weekend).
We believe in the power of a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook.
We believe we can be involved in everything.
We believe we can always meet our high expectations for ourselves.
We believe in other people.
We believe that we can pick up the slack if those other people let us down.
We believe many things, but sometimes our beliefs are shattered.
We know many things, too, though.
We know we can meet necessary deadlines.
We know we will survive, maybe even thrive, on our bad days.
We know we don't spread ourselves too thin.
We know there is a lot of us to go around.