The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Balance is Success

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By: Web Editor Nithya Rajeev

“No work, all play.” A slogan we have heard so many times in motivational speeches and hit songs (cue Hilary Duff’s 2007 chart-topper of the same name), and read so many times in the daily posts of our carefree Facebook friends. Yet despite these constant reminders that it is essential to turn it down for some time each day, why do I find myself stuck in an endless world of work? I’m living the life of a stereotypical MSJ student, drowning myself in an ocean of homework and extracurricular activities, and leaving out one significant thing from my day–relaxation.

As a rising junior this past summer, I divided my time into four not-so-different categories: SAT prep, studying ahead for weighted classes, rigorous tennis practices, and relaxation. If I had to break it down into percentages, the first three occupied about 90% of my time, and the laid back hours took up a mere 10%. At first, this schedule worked fabulously for me; I was soaring ahead in my textbooks and SAT preparation, and my tennis ground strokes were getting levels stronger. Soon, however, just like any other human being, my body couldn’t handle the 10-hour days I was putting myself through. Learning even one lesson of pre-calculus became a tedious job and I found myself forgetting definitions and graphs of simple functions. It was at this time that I realized the true importance of a balanced schedule. I set aside an extra hour everyday during which I would do things to relax me, such as reading, watching TV, or video chatting with friends and family. For those sixty minutes, I cleared my mind of all the leftover work, and included time to finish it in my following day’s schedule.

Ever since we were toddlers, we have been taught that we can do anything we set our hearts out to do. If we set ourselves a goal, the word “no” should not be in our vocabulary. Then, you may ask, why does it exist in front of the word “fun” or “relaxing”? The answer: it shouldn’t. Balancing your schedule out between, metaphorically, work and play should be a top priority. Although it may seem like napping for 20 more minutes is a waste of time, you are clearing out your mind, which consequently builds more brainpower and energy to accomplish more tasks and activities. At the beginning of the school year, it is natural to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that is presented to you. At this point, it is even more important to balance your schedule out. The next time you feel stressed or reach the “I can’t do this anymore” stage, remember to sit back, breathe, and simply relax.


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