As a junior in college, I guess the workload does not feel as heavy as it did once before. This does not mean the workload is not a lot, it just means that I am now able to manage.

It is worth noting that over my summer break, I realized how meaningful the people around me were and how time was going by and I was not enjoying its passage. I felt as though I was not living for I was not spending time with the people I cared about, having fun, exploring the world, or risking myself outside my comfort zone. I was so sucked in into complying with my responsibilities that I was neglecting the beauty of life.

Thus, one of my goals for this academic year was to spend more time with my family and friends rather than always being so focused on my academic work. Not that I don’t value my academic work, but I did not want to be like previous years where I often found myself saying “no” to going out, “no” to spending time with my family and friends,  and “no” to spending time with myself. I felt like I was saying “no” to life BECAUSE of my academic work. Hence, I decided to make some changes.

I recall telling my cousin, “I want to spend more time with my friends and family this academic year,” to which he replied, “Don’t do it… later you will have time”. Somehow hearing these words made sense, but I wondered… what if “later” was too late? Or what if “later” never came? I decided to take his advice into account, but I also decided prioritize what I truly valued.

Hence, this year I’ve made sure to complete all the work needed for my courses so that I can have time to do the things that I like. For example, I made time on Mondays after my classes to play chess at school or also sporadically played with my friend at home so that I could play meanwhile also spending time with a friend.  I also made time to create and recite a poem for an extracurricular event at school so that I could step out of my comfort zone and do something different.  Furthermore, I’ve also had time to complete my responsibilities from church and spend time with my family, and by spending time with my family, I mean finding the occasion to do so. For example, sitting together at dinner to talk, going out to places we all like, or playing family games together during the night so that we can enjoy each other. Simple things that in the long run mean a lot.

Honestly, having been able to find a balance to manage both, academics and life, has been one of the greatest feelings ever. I won’t lie to you and say that from time to time I won’t slip and say “no” to certain activities that I can’t comply with because of academic work, but for the most part, I have been able to cherish my school work and my life because of how I have been managing my activities.

Definitely, there’s much more that I need to learn and many more how’s that I need to figure out… but for the most part, I am enjoying where I am now.