Six months ago I started working at a renowned law firm as an intern. Many things have changed since then, and I am convinced that professionally, it has been a milestone. But along the professional side of the many changes that have occurred, all these changes have also had a big effect on my personal life.
Being accepted at such a law firm has given me a lot of confidence and has made me proud of myself. Saying that I am a perfectionist would be an understatement, and to me, what I do is never good enough, or enough itself. I tend to undermine my achievements and blame luck for what works out. Being hired by Mystery Firm (we will call it that) and the fact that later on they have extended my contract, has made me realize that maybe I do play a big role on what I succeed in, and has given me the impulse that I have always lacked of due to fear of failure.
Of course, it has also been an incredible learning experience. It has taught me the importance of rigor, of teamwork and to manage my time more effectively. However, the combination of working everyday at a law firm, being on my last year of law school, being a research assistant at the university, and presiding an association has put me in an unprecedented state of constant stress (and believe me, prior to that there have been many other times when I have been under a lot of pressure!).
Working long hours, sleeping very little, spending every single weekend during months studying and working, feeling exhausted all of the time, having meals on the train on a daily basis while going from one place to another are just some of the examples of what my life has been lately. I am well aware of how fortunate I am for doing so much, especially in a context like the Spanish were the crisis is having devastating consequences, primarily within young people. But sometimes, I feel like everything is simply too much, that I can not handle it all and that maybe I should just give up. As a result, there have been a few realizations that I am trying to implement to deal with endless to-do list in a more positive note:
+ It is ok to say no. In fact, sometimes it is even necessary.
+ It is important to prioritize, there are some occasions when everything is not possible and one has to choose.
+ When feeling overwhelmed and saturated, it is better to stop, sleep, and continue the next day. It might seem like you are putting things off, but in that state, one can’t be productive and the result will never be as good as it could be.
+ Inevitably (at least to me) there will be occasions when you’ll be under so much stress that you will make “innocents” pay for how you are feeling. Learn to say sorry and to explain your situation
+ Take time for yourself, to take care of you and indulge. If you don’t do so, eventually, it will all add up and be too much to handle.
+ But also bear in mind that one can’t control everything and things often do not work as planned.