My mom came to the US from Mexico, working her way through school and work to eventually move to the states. As I grew up, she was always highlighting the importance of learning, because after all it was what got her to where she was. I fell in love with reading and math, specifically, working hard at them and eventually establishing myself as the family smart kid. When I got into high school, the importance of studying became an everyday subject in conversation. Any mention of school near her or her family warranted something along the lines of "you're smart, keep that up because the only thing you have forever is your knowledge. It's only about college now."

So, like most people my age, I try to get good grades. But, thanks to a whole lot of procrastination and constant pushing of the limits to see whether or not I actually need to do that homework to get by, good grades don't always work out. I do my best to cover that by trying do well in clubs and teams, and consider how anything I do outside of school-related events may look on a college resume. I super-commit to anything and everything I can because I'm worried that if I don't have enough under my belt, colleges won't let me in alone off my grades and test scores.

Normal fears, normal reasons to be in things.

Currently, it's the summer right before junior year, and I subconsciously decided to take a quick break right before getting into the thick of standardized tests and college apps. A breather from whatever summer clubs or camps or volunteer work I probably could be doing, to realize that I actually like doing other things.

I've started getting back into reading, exercising, socializing, new music, tarot reading (for some reason), swim team, etc. It took me a moment in time of relaxation and free choices to remind myself that I'm still a human person, not a living, breathing college application.

I'm not going to sit back and say that doing everything for college is bad, because to me, it's a no-brainer that you should try hard in school to squeeze the most success out of your future as possible. But what I've realized, and what I hope you, reader, can realize is that life is meant to be enjoyable.

I'm speaking to high school students here. And no, not the ones who genuinely enjoy schoolwork and the activities they are in, they can carry on being happy with the grind if that's what makes them happy. I mean the ones who feel emotionally worn out from constantly worrying they aren't doing enough, and not knowing how to fix that issue.

Success is important, and yeah the "grind don't stop," but nothing you ever do, no amount of success you ever have, will ever matter to you if you continue to live in a way that dedicates you to something you don't even feel good enough for (which you probably are, by the way).

You have to do things for yourself sometimes. You have to ride your bike through your neighborhood at 7 o'clock sometimes, you have to go see concerts sometimes, you have to learn something new that is not a college major or career sometimes.

I mean, obviously.

Because otherwise you are just algebra III and AP English, not a real life human. You will start to tear your hair out over grades that aren't all 100%'s, and become the physical manifestation of school and only school.

Keep working hard, but do remember, you should be committed to yourself the same way you commit to clubs number 1, 2, and 3.