You’ll Know When You “No”

As a university student determined to get your foot in the door, you’re ingrained to believe that every opportunity that crosses your way should be yours for the taking. If you’re a busy-aholic like me, it always feels like your juggling too much and not enough.

Should I fast track?  Should I do a co-op? Should I do an internship? Should I volunteer? Should I volunteer more? Should I join a student group? Should I get a job? Should I get another job? Should I get a higher paying job? Should I quit my job? Should I freelance? Should I do work for free? Should I ask to be paid? Should I ask to be paid more? Should I network more? Should I put more effort in my friendship? Should I be in a relationship? Should I be going on more dates? Should I be making more of an effort? Should I spend money on this? Should I work out more? Or should I watch Netflix by myself with a box of pizza and neglect all responsibilities until I finish this new series I started last night?

Should I.. should I… should I…

If this internal dialogue freakishly resonates with you, there’s a good chance you too took that classmate’s cursive tattoo of Carpe Diem too seriously that one time you zoned out in your upper liberal class.

Our minds are constantly weighing the pros and cons of every opportunity that presents itself. The desire to say “yes” to everything is pervasive, but knowing when to say “no” is extremely important for your personal well-being. Here are 5 reasons why you need to start saying “No”:

1. When It Doesn’t Benefit You

Sometimes, we make sacrifices and do things we do not necessarily want to do. Tasks, relationships, and work that no longer challenge you, align with your beliefs, or add value your life need to be re-evaluated. Ask yourself, “Does this benefit my present or future?” If not, it might be worthwhile to invest your time and energy elsewhere. Say no to opportunities that don’t benefit you.

2. When You Really Don’t Have Time

Don’t we all wish there was a little more time in the day? It can be challenging to walk away from something you really want, but if you don’t have time, you don’t have time. Taking on new projects that you aren’t able to fully dedicate your time to can cause performance quality in all areas of your life to suffer. Try not to take on new opportunities you know you won’t be able to give your full attention to; just say no.

3. When The Opportunity is a Step Back

Ideally, we should always strive to move “upwards” in life. As we gain new insight, knowledge, skill, and experience, it’s only logical that the opportunities we take on reflect our expanding expertise. Try not to fall in the trap of taking on opportunities that are too similar to opportunities you have already done in the past. It’s time to look for and accept opportunities that push you forward. Say no because you deserve bigger and better things.

4. When It Feels More Like an Obligation than an Opportunity

Opportunities can seem very appealing on the surface; that is, until the mask comes off and you start dreading doing what you’re suppose to be doing. Opportunities should be something you feel grateful for being able to do. When you start feeling like you HAVE TO do something (rather than wanting to it), it’s time to decide if it’s time to say no.

5. When You Have a Bad Feeling 

Trust your gut. Your intuition is usually always right and has your best interest at heart. Walk away from shady business, people who bring you down, and opportunities that sound too good to be true. If you have a hunch not to take the crunch, walk away confidently with a big no thank-you.


Was there a time you felt really good about saying no? Tweet us @RUStudentLife.