I am sure most young people who have tried to work for a better world have encountered moments of frustrations and doubts, and have thought of giving up, while some already have. At the conference, I had the privilege to ask Jennifer, who beams with energy and enthusiasm, on how she avoids burning herself out so as to continue to shine light on youth (defined by age or state of mind) around the world.
To avoid mental burnouts, Jennifer offers two advices:
1) Choose your peer-pressure
I think it is not uncommon for students to have their great passion to work in social development fields gradually fade away as they witness their peers line up for big jobs in corporates and professions. Indeed, I have felt such insecurity myself. However, Jennifer says that we may not always be aware that we can actually “choose” our peer pressure by staying closer with people who share similar values and goals. By choosing the right people to affect us, a mutually encouraging relationship may result, while by choosing the wrong people, we may sway further and further away from what we really want in life.
2) Learn to value yourself
In order to not be discouraged amid criticism or setbacks, Jennifer views it important that one must learn to value oneself. And this includes being keenly aware of what exactly one is doing, what value one holds, and why they are worthy of appreciation. This is opposed to working for the appreciation of others, in which case, once the applause and cheers fade, one would be left with nothing to hang on to.
Jennifer also pointed out the importance of avoiding physical burnouts. She saw the work she is doing as a marathon instead of a sprint, hence, instead of pushing herself to the limit until her body breaks down, she makes a conscious effort to take fresh by juggling priorities and skipping less important parts of events in order to get more rest or go to the gym.
Indeed, Jennifer is a great role model for young people who want to make a difference. There is no easy route and many give up along the way and while Jennifer has offered ways to make the journey a little less difficult for us, we must not forget the amount of time and dedication she has put into her work and recognize that passion is not enough to change this world.