Struggle To Find Balance

A Struggle To Find Balance

It may not be easy, but it is possible.

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When I was in high school, I was very dedicated to my studies. I worked hard on every assignment and really tried to apply myself every day. I remember going on Twitter after school and seeing tweets by people in college saying things like, "I wish I was still in high school when I was stress-free" or "college is 10 times harder than high school." As I read those tweets, I thought college would be hard, but not that hard.

I was wrong.

College is harder than high school because it is completely different. You can't even really compare them.

I am finding out that college is harder than high school because there is simply much more going on. At college, you're on your own, which adds to the increased levels of difficulty. To further explain, you're not only on your own but also in charge of your own education and staying on top of your assignments. It's basically you taking action in every part of your life.

The "balancing act" I'm referring to is trying to balance all of the aspects of college, from keeping track of your assignments, you're own downtime and time spent with friends. You might be asking yourself, "how does one person find balance in all of these different activities?" and honestly I don't know.

If you couldn't tell, I'm a freshman in college and am still learning how to find this balance. I will say, now that I am in my 6th week of college, I think I am getting a little better at this difficult balancing act. Just like in high school, I still try hard in everything I do. However, now I am learning added skills like time management and am adjusting to a completely new way of learning.

Whenever you do something for the first time, many unexpected things usually occur, and college is no exception to this. College and high school are entirely different and trying to make the transition from one to the other is a very difficult task. Within the first few days of college, I heard "get involved", "go to class" and "try making friends" pretty much every day.

To be fair, I think that is good advice. Since there's so much happening at college, there are plenty of clubs and organizations to get involved in and I would recommend looking into clubs with your interests. That being said, having support in college is crucial.

A major part in me finding balance in college is through the support of my friends and family. Sometimes you just need someone to talk too about what's going on; having a solid support system is key. As I continue college, I will (hopefully) find the balance I am looking for and continue to learn new things every day in order to accomplish this task. Wish me luck!

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject. It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease. The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own. We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time. Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death. However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me. In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident. A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life. I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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4 Things I Wish High School Me Knew

Every day has a purpose.

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People don't give high school enough credit for having the ability to shape your life. It can build you or it can break you and often times there is no in between. As I enter into my senior year of college I have reflected a lot on my college career and how it really has been the best years of my life up to this point, but I know that without a doubt my life would have been so different in I would have known these things as a high schooler.

1. Your life is valuable

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 2:4-7

2. You aren't defined by your singleness. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. - Song of Solomon 2:7

4. You aren't going to fit in

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

4. Your clothes aren't going to fit forever, don't spend all of your money on them 

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." - Luke 12:15

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