How Can You Balance the Need to Achieve with Enjoying Life?March 29, 2021

W.B Yeats once said that "the intellect of man is forced to choose: perfection of the life, or of the work". It didn't pique your curiosity when your professor quoted it because he was discussing the epic, as well as the drama, which was divided into tragedy and comedy. It was a thought that got lost on many students, but not on an academic achiever like you. But you felt like you weren't spending more time with your mates. Are you missing on the best years of your life?

You wondered if you weren't enjoying the moment, if not go with the flow, as you don't understand how your course mates couldn't be fascinated at the theory of a Hollow Earth; you told them about a stream between two (erupting) volcanoes not far from Tasmania, which would lead to a place where a terrace ran back till it formed a semicircle against the mountain slope, and in the middle of that place arose a singular structure, shaped like a half-pyramid. And there lived the kins of ancient Romans, who built jaw-dropping structures similar to the Nubian pyramids. But your course mates were more interested in Dua Lipa. (And they kept on listening to "Don't Start Now".) You may think to be too intellectual, so you tried to tell your (foreign) course mates about Hunter, a blind Sumatran tiger and the main attraction of the Australian Zoo. Alas, Queensland is too far from where you live. You would agree that travelling across the Outback is more costly than a holiday in Southeast Asia. (One of your foreign course mates asked you to support the protestors in Myanmar, but she didn't have a clue about the Burmese princess who married an Australian gardener. A modern fairy tale, your mother said.) There's nothing wrong about discussing it. You may not have found the people who share your interest, if not enthusiasm, in these topics, but your professors might fancy it. (You must make sure that you have exhausted the list of essay topics.) They have praised you on one occasion, but you suspected that you weren't enjoying life. (And the pandemic is a constant reminder.) Don't fuss about it.

Think if this need to achieve is a choice. If it's not, then you must reflect on the previous year. Your tutor said that everyone have a book in them, but you would doubt if your life story should end up in (essay) paper. You have irresistible stories to tell, but you rather save it for the winter. The new term is near, so you must address this one. Immediately.

See Your Day: 5 Ways to Achieve a Study-Life Balance

Fond memories take as much cultivation as any achievement. Your father advised you to cherish your time with your course mates. You didn't think too much about it, as you feel for your (former) roomier who mused about the idiotic opportunities awaiting double major students (like him). And then your tutor said it. Again. (Time flew fast, she said. She kept on thinking about her old friends and where to find them.) It takes time and effort to maintain close ties with your mates, and you miss those hugs (and fist bumps). Virtual meeting is your only option, also the safest one. You can indulge in it, as long as you don't neglect the coursework. Seize the only time left. (The pandemic gave you more time.) The older you won't regret it.

Make sure that your achievements get you something. It must lead to a life well-lived. Reading a James De Mille novel may have satisfied your curiosity, but you're a bit disheartened that not one student is interested in it. You can pitch it to your professor in Science Fiction. It's the same with those hour-long conversations on the benefits of mayonnaise. (Your course mate excitedly told you about how mayo saved the green-sea turtles from tar.) If you're a competitive person, then you should be conscious of how your actions could alienate you from other students (and your professors). Is it worth doing it? It depends on your career goals, but it seems light years away (at this moment). This challenging period requires you to do the tasks that must be done, but take a break if you're getting anxious. And talk to your family (or mate) about it.

Smart people don't make this dumb mistake all the time. Many people are too focused on their goals that they tend to forget the other aspects of their lives. You might be too serious on studying, such that you've been close to the computer screen for some time. It can affect your well-being. On the other hand, you indulge in games and social media. It keeps you distracted, which would ease the pressure. You may need a new mindset. (Don't be afraid of failure. You're allowed to seek help.) The quarantine should have taught you a thing or two (about it), but it's no big deal if you don't. It's never too late (unless you're struggling to break an old habit).

Teach yourself to stop even though there's more to do. Spending less time on studying doesn't mean that you're achieving less. You might not find an academic figure who has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award (and validate it), but it shouldn't make you doubt about the motives of your actions. Don't forget your mate's birthday, also not warning your family that you're the protagonist in your saga and your coursework is the main theme. Adopt a flexible approach, which should help you make the most of your time. Ask your tutor, or professor, before you hear the news about universities reopening their doors for students.

The outline of a day... is where to start. You don't have to choose between coursework and your life outside it. If you haven't found your balance (after many months of studying in your own room), then make an effort. You can check on your sleeping hours. (It won't hurt if you oversleep at times. It will boost your immune system.) Keep an eye on your food intake. And you must keep yourself occupied with those virtual meetings. But take a break every other while.

What Happens to the Best Students?

The narrator of "Joseph Andrews" once said that "examples work more forcibly on the mind than precepts". It implies that emulation most effectively operates upon everyone, and it also inspires imitation. However, the best men are but little known. It cannot extend the usefulness of their examples, but it should give you a task. Ask other students (outside your department). Join a club, if not spend more time with your (club) mates. Get to know more of your tutor and professors. You can learn many things, which should give you some insight on how to achieve a study-life balance.

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