It's safe to say that this school year has been hell but as Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." Even when life gets a bit too stressful, there's no stopping. There's only pushing through and achieving the goals you've set out before you. Breaks are acceptable but you can't lose focus of the end goal or you'll never get anything done.

In September 2018, I picked up two new jobs. One at Hotel Duval as a server/barista and the other at Trousdell Gymnastics Center as a gymnastics coach. Although I've enjoyed Duval from the get-go, there have been some especially demanding shifts that have left me exhausted and in tears. Even so, I shake it off and go in the next day ready to kick ass. The gym, on the other hand, has always been somewhat dreadful. I love gymnastics but I definitely prefer competing over coaching; I just don't have the patience to deal with kids who won't listen as I try to teach them how to properly perform skills.

Working at the hotel has taught me that pulling an all-nighter and having to work at six in the morning is not a good idea. Don't ask me why I thought it was a good idea in the first place but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to ensure everything is done on time. That might mean giving up sleep or not going out or even skipping one class to write a paper for another class. Whatever the case may be, you'll have to make a choice. Socialize and have fun or buckle down and get good grades.

Lately, it's been a lot of grinding and very little fun and games. My mind and body are jam-packed full of stress. But as the weeks go by, I've realized that the more I worry, the less work I get done. Obviously, I should stop stressing out but that's a lot easier said than done. Assignments build up and I feel as if I am drowning in a sea of textbooks with papers upon papers waiting to be written.

Over time, I've learned that even though I'm constantly struggling to do everything that I'm supposed to do in a given day, I have to find time to enjoy the little things. Most days when I get home from class or work, I knock on my roommate's door to see what's going on in her life. Even if it's just for a minute, it makes me feel connected. Studying at Cascades instead of indoors provides me with a beautiful view while I crank out those assignments. Finding a reason to dress up and get out of the house makes me feel like I'm on top of the world.

Life isn't easy but it's not meant to be; there are many obstacles to overcome and lessons to learn. Like Sylvester Stallone said, "it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." I love this quote because life will throw punches and you might be able to throw some back but if you can't get back up once you've been knocked down, then it's pointless.

Life is about choices and the choices we make affect our day-to-day lives. Ultimately, the choices we make reflect what is important to us. For me, I will 9/10 times put school above everything else but on a rare occasion, I might skip class to hang out with someone I care about or take a break from homework to meet up with my friends who I haven't seen all week. I may be busy all the time but I will still find time to see the people I care about and do the things I love, even if it's only for a few minutes.

But being busy all the time also shows me that some people don't matter and some things are a waste of time. Those people are no longer in my life and those things aren't done as much anymore. Even with the Odyssey, sometimes I wonder if I should keep writing because it takes time away from other assignments but then I remember that this is my voice; the one place where I can write what I want.

By setting my priorities straight, I'm able to make room for different people to enter my life and find the time to participate in events that I wouldn't normally participate in. I'm trying to expand my views of the world and the only way to go from here is up.