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Letting go is a let down

A crowd of people wearing masks in a polaroid picture.
Courtesy of Emily Monaco

By Emily Monaco

Editorial Staff

“I know you care, but you have to let it go.”

People become student leaders because they care - at least most of the time that’s the case. The hard part comes when you care too much. 

You can care too much about a commitment, and forget to take care of yourself. 

When I was younger, I was told that if I quit something I cared about, I was weak and shouldn’t give up.

There’s a point where you should quit, and I’m not happy with that being the solution to bettering your mental health.

It doesn’t make sense to give up something you love so much.

When you don’t have resources to help you overcome these obstacles or support you, it restricts you to drastic decisions. 

A common saying is that everything is good in moderation.

What you want and what you need are two separate things and while something can be perfect for you, sometimes you have to let go of it. 

I think that’s stupid. 

Learning to let go is a very important lesson because sometimes it’s your only option.

While you can simultaneously appreciate the lesson you’re learning, you are also allowed to think it is extremely stupid. 

It’s easy in a college setting to blur the lines between professionalism and interpersonal relationships - that’s where a lot of enjoyable experiences can turn into something that drains you mentally and emotionally. 

Taking a step back is so hard because you know that you’ve poured your heart into something for so long. I sought help and tried utilizing the resources available to me but to no avail. I was unable to get the support I needed to continue in my leadership role. 

Knowing that the only way that you’re going to find peace is by leaving something you love is like leaving an abusive relationship. 

I can’t take credit for that last part, someone very close to me said that. 

They were right. 

As someone who’s left abusive relationships, I’m going through pretty much the same withdrawals I did when I had to leave an ex-partner.

I tried to create a collaborative space and to be amicable, but without getting the support I needed, I had to leave.

As of late, student leaders have not been getting the support they need, making it hard to stay motivated.

What’s important to remember is that you have other things you care about. I am learning how to love myself all over again, and exploring other things I enjoy. 

You’re allowed to think it’s stupid, but sometimes you really just have to let go. It might be unfair and unjust, but sometimes taking a step back helps you breathe, steady your mind, and pour energy back into yourself. 

I put my heart and soul into being a student leader because I was relentlessly bullied growing up. I wanted to create a space where people felt like they belonged - they always had a place to be. A place where they had a welcoming community ready to embrace them with open arms.

For a while, I felt like I belonged, and I felt confident enough in my ability as a leader to work to create that space. 

Until I felt I didn’t. I felt unwelcome and tried to assert myself, but without a mediator or an advisor, everything changed very quickly.

I felt boxed in the corner and I didn’t know where to go. So little by little, I decided to leave some of my leadership roles. I continued to work the best that I could until one day I couldn’t do it anymore.

My mental wellbeing had taken such a major hit that I decided I just had to quit everything entirely. 

I lost something that I had been a part of since the fall of 2020. A club on a computer is not easy, especially when it’s the kind of club that puts on productions. When I finally got on campus everything instantly clicked, and I finally felt like myself.

Something that has been a part of your life and your identity which is suddenly dropped because of conflict is like mourning a death. A part of you dies.

Sometimes you have to let go and that’s stupid. Believe me, I think it’s the dumbest lesson in the world, but in the real world, it’s something people have to do a lot of the time. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t stop fighting, but if it’s really starting to hurt you it’s OK to just take a step back.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, because as a leader you show others that putting yourself first is OK.


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