Growing up my parents always stressed the importance of getting good grades, working hard, and never settling for anything but my best. It came at no surprise, therefore, that when they dropped me off at college they repeatedly reminded me that I was there for the sole purpose of learning, not partying. However, I have found that in order to live a successful and joyous life it is important to not only work hard, but to also play hard. This has shown to be true both in my own life and in the lives of those close to me as well.
I did not realize the importance of this motto until I arrived at college. Like most rebellious children, I decided my parents had no idea what they were talking about. In fact, I did the exact opposite of what they instructed me to do. I decided to go out almost every night, regardless of how much work I had to complete. I was having the time of my life, but whenever I went to class I felt frustrated and behind.
One of my close friends from home, named Shayna, decided to go to the same college as me. Her parents shared similar values with mine, and they too always reminded Shayna of the importance of working hard. Shayna, however, took her parents advice to heart, and devoted her time to school and her studies. In spite of this, whenever I spoke with her she never seemed completely happy with her life. She wasn’t making friends or enjoying herself. Our conversations were always quick and rushed because she was constantly stressed, and did not have to time to sit and talk. She even filled out an application to transfer to another school.
Neither of us was actually fully happy or overly satisfied with our lives. We decided one day over coffee that we had to make a change in our lifestyles. A plan was quickly devised to combine fun with work by dividing our weeks in half. We would go out half of the nights of the week, and stay in and do our work for the other half. Not too surprisingly, my grades significantly improved and I felt comfortable with the material covered in class. In fact, I received straight “A”s for the semester. I was still having fun but I was also able to gain respect for myself, and as a result became a more confident person. Not too long after our coffee date, I ran into Shayna and asked her if she was still thinking of transferring. She told me with a huge smile across her face that she was actually having fun and made a close group of friends. She was still doing well in her classes, but she did not feel as stressed and overwhelmed because she made it a point to do fun things each week.
By sticking to a happy medium between work and play, Shayna and I were both able to get everything out of life we were looking for. We were both doing well in school, yet still having fun. Like most things in life, keeping a balance between any two extremes is vital. I will never forget what I learned those first couple weeks of school, and will always make sure that I work as hard as I can, yet play just as equally hard.
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