Learning to say 'no'

There is a word in the English language that I can never seem to apply in a conversation at the correct time &

let alone ever. I don't seem to understand the correct usage of this single word or when I should say it, and therefore find myself constantly using its antonym.

Definition; no; (pronounced noh); adverb, adjective, noun, plural noes, nos, verb: a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal, as in response to a question or request.

In my experience, not being able to say 'no' has many positive and negative repercussions. On one hand, not being able to say no has been an obstacle in my daily life.

For instance, I almost always agree to cover my co-workers' shifts if they ask me, consent to attend every study group to which I am invited, and volunteer, attend meetings, and audition for every opportunity that comes my way. As wonderful as experiencing all of these opportunities can be, unfortunately, this also often leads to an overbooked schedule, lack of sleep and a tendency to be late to each appointment in my calendar.

As great as it can be to experience everything, sometimes I wonder whether or not it would be more worthwhile to just participate in a few experiences with 100 percent commitment instead of more than I can handle at half steam.

On the other hand, however, there has been a plethora of opportunities to which I have been exposed that make me grateful that I was unable to say 'no' to them.

For instance, one day as I walked to lunch, members of the Student Senate asked me to fill out a survey. Now, four weeks later, I am also a member of the Student Senate. I sit on numerous committees, am applying to sit on the Ashland Housing Commission and just finished attending the Northwest Student Leadership Conference at Portland State University.

My university experience has become multi-dimensional, fulfilling, and even more fun &

all because I couldn't say no to someone handing out surveys.

Another example of how not being able to say 'no' has affected my life in a positive way involves the story of how I ended up at Southern Oregon University studying business in the first place. Instead of insisting that I wasn't interested in becoming a business major, I agreed to give the experience a shot. Now I am meeting people and learning things that I would never have experienced had I stayed closed-minded. I am learning that a future in business &

whether it is emphasized in marketing, management, or even accounting &

might be exactly that future that I have been looking for all along.

Recently I have learned to say 'no' in certain situations.

Long-term commitments involving contracts that I am not 100 percent sure I want to be a part of receive a well-rehearsed no. When asked to cover a co-worker's shift when I have four hours of homework waiting for me, I respond with an apologetic 'no' as well.

I will not, however, stop saying yes to new opportunities and experiences.

My calendar may be overflowing, but that means my mind and heart are as well.

lives in Ashland and is a freshman studying business at Southern Oregon University. She is also the International Senator for ASSOU.

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