Finding the balance


I have been told more times than I care to remember that “it’s all about balance.” For a while, I was not sure exactly how to do this or exactly what this looked like. I spent way too much time stressing about things that did not matter in the long run rather than doing what needed to be done and move on. My mom always told me to look at things in fives and ask myself: “Will this matter in 5 days?” “Will this matter in 5 months?” “Will this matter in 5 years?”

This has helped me to gain perspective on the things that matter and try to learn from the things that do not. School is important, I know that, but I value my sanity more than I value my GPA. It’s all about figuring out when enough is enough and when to keep going. Staying up all night to study just ends up being counter-productive when you fall asleep with your face in your test.

To be honest, I would way rather be happy, sane, and average than a total nutcase with a 4.0. Maybe I’m not going to get into graduate school at Harvard but at least I feel good about my college experience. There have been multiple nights that should have been spent studying but I ended up chatting with my roommates about what was on our minds. I may not have gotten an A+ but I don’t regret it. Maybe other students would disagree, but I don’t think it was a waste of time at all. I guarantee I learned more about myself from these late night conversations than I would have studying for logic. In 5, 10, and 15 years I will have absolutely no idea what I made on my logic midterm, but I will remember sitting in my living room talking to and learning from the amazing people I have around me.

I’m not saying to forget about school and spend every night talking to your friends and every day going to the beach; that won’t help either. Rather, study when needed but also recognize when you deserve a break. The most common response I hear to the question, “How are you doing?” is “stressed.” Why does no one ever say “really great” or “so happy”? I feel like we have been programmed as college students to relate stress to a good thing. If you are stressed then you must be doing something right, right? No, maybe it just means you are stressed. So, I challenge you to work hard but take a break, get a breath of fresh air, go to bed early, and enjoy your experience rather than stress about it.