As a student in the 21st century, it’s easy to find yourself wrapped up in the world of school and bettering ‘you’. We’re taught to make education the main focus in our lives so that we can put a strong foundation in place for a successful future. (That’s what everyone says we must do, right? It’s the ‘norm’). Unfortunately, in putting school first, we tend to push aside the things that really matter. PLEASE NOTE: this does not mean that your education is not important! All I’m saying is, it’s necessary to be aware that your life does not revolve around golden stars and a perfect GPA.
I’ll admit, in the past, I was solely focused on good grades, for no other reason than making a way for myself. I was determined to build a life where I could make a good living, enjoy a successful life, and not have to depend on anyone. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, however, this became my mantra – my motivating factor – and that which was kept at the forefront of my mind. I became so fixated on this that the thought eventually consumed me, and I accepted it as the filter through which all my thoughts were strained. In other words, the way in which I would determine whether something was worthy of putting effort into, was by assessing how it would impact my academic livelihood. For instance, completing my assignments and catching up on studying took precedence over spending time with my family and other activities. In the beginning, it didn’t seem as such a major threat (“what’s the big deal if I missed one activity?”) but it began to grow and became my new normal. I’d miss out on family gatherings, and several other things. For example, I would pass up going to the beach with my family for doing school work.
Everything seemed satisfactory to the normal eye. I was putting more effort into school and was receiving better grades. Even though, the rest of my life was out of alignment. My dad spoke to me regarding my relationship with God and my family; he was concerned that I was not prioritizing my time wisely. Although I fell prey to the typical teenage culture of becoming upset when I was reprimanded, I realized he was right. I took a step back and reconsidered my life. My priorities and my life were out of whack because I was mainly focusing on school; I neglected my relationship with God, and family resulting in other aspects of my life becoming disorderly and inaccurate. Due to my out of line priorities, I allowed things to slip in that weren’t supposed to, like toxic friendships and inaccurate relationships.
If one area is neglected, everything becomes out of whack, haywire, and of an unpleasing nature. Just because we’re involved in various trying and time-consuming tasks or processes, such as school or work doesn’t give us an excuse to let the other facets of our lives lack consistency and become neglected.
As a student, I’ve learned a few things that I believe can be applied to everyone, regardless of one’s stage or position in life. Firstly, it is important to put my best foot forward in everything that I do, if I don’t, I will regret it. I’ve also learned that it’s crucial to find time to relax – go to the beach, or the movies, spend time with family and loved ones while I still can. Additionally, I must be transparent with my parents, guardians or any elder I trust. (This can be quite difficult but it’s worth it as counsel received from my parents and elders in retrospect has always been beneficial for me). Lastly, I must set aside time for my spiritual life and ensure that it’s my main priority! It is a way of escaping everyday stresses, and every aspect of my life is improved as everything falls into place when I build a quality relationship with God.