Ding, ding–I rush out of room C-122 and head to work. Four hours later, I clock out, go home and open my laptop to study for my next AP Statistics test. Meanwhile, my staff bombards me with requests for edits. My eyes begin to strain and I start falling asleep in the middle of a solving a question. I glance at the clock–it’s 12 a.m. and I still haven’t started on my next column yet.

Before junior year, I avoided after school activities and social gatherings for several reasons–A. I was lazy, B. it was hard to engage in certain settings because I wasn’t interested and C. I liked staying in the comfort of my fluffy, queen-size bed. My life was unproductive, but I liked it that way.

At some point, my lifestyle transformed overnight and every spot in my agenda started to fill up. I suddenly couldn’t hang out with my friends after school because of work and extracurricular activities. Saturday plans always had to come after 2 p.m. and Sunday nights were dedicated to studying and editing articles. Even now, I have to plan hangouts a month ahead to make sure they don’t clash with other events or appointments.

Watching my life jump from uneventful to hectic felt like being told to juggle without knowing how to. I’d get fevers from overworking myself and eventually lost connections with people who couldn’t keep up. However, despite the challenges I had to push through, I never dropped any of my leadership positions or job. Instead, I kept doing what I had to do until my body started to normalize it.

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Halfway through my senior year, I came to a realization–I need to have limits. The strenuous work and overload of responsibilities had its up and downs. While I got better at decision making and grew as a leader, there would be times when the workload would cause me to break down.

As a result, I put in my two weeks at work to focus on school. It took a lot of time and thought to drop my position, but I knew that it was for the best. Now that I am unemployed, it’s easier for me to balance my school and social life at once. Although I miss my coworkers and the students I used to teach, I do not regret my decision.

Train yourself to recognize when enough is enough. If there are obstacles that are blocking your pathway to good health and a life that you can feel content with, do what you can to overcome them. At this age, balance is worth more than a paycheck and stress.

Do you think you overwork yourself?