Juggling Everything

Look.

This is stupid. We’ve had this conversation many times. You can’t do everything. You can’t try to please everybody and stay sane. It’s not possible.

I know, this is another of those scenes that they play out in movies with the protagonist desperately trying to act perfect for every aspect of his or her life, be it school or friends or family. And we both know how you hate watching the poor guy push himself over the edge. Who doesn’t, really?

Except, of course, when you’re in the center of the stage, it’s different. Because all of it matters to you, I think you believe, and because you think you can really juggle everything at the same time, unlike the movie character who has much more exaggerated standards and serious problems to deal with. Past a certain point, you don’t really give a damn about grades anymore, but you at least feel the need to repay your teachers, friends, family for their effort. Plus, there’s the voice telling you that you can’t afford a slip up now if you really want to get into Stanford or MIT.

Well, here’s some news for you: you can’t. You need to chill out.

I don’t know why you have to feel guilty for missing your share of work or every deadline extension you ask for from your teachers. You are not everybody else. Your responsibility of getting ready for the IMO right now is just as important as the mundane school stuff — in fact, it really ought to be much more important, but you’re just too much of an overachiever. And above both of these are your health issues. Whether you like it or not, chemotherapy takes its toll; there are dozens of desperate posts you made to prove that. We know about five people who have to deal with two of these things, and none, I suspect, that have all three. Dealing with everything perfectly would be the ridiculous thing to do.

What is it? Guilt for having such a kind, lenient network of supporters, when there are internet horror stories of teachers who hold drug parties and rape their students? Be thankful, certainly, always be thankful, but stop the guilt; nobody benefits from it. Your standards are high enough already.

Guilt for having to deprioritize some of your myriad responsibilities and bonuses? If you try to do everything, be a jack-of-all-trades, the result will be a mediocre job everywhere at best — no chance of excellence anywhere. You know that, and you know that that’s even further from what you want. Some choices have to be made. It’s tough, but that’s the way it is.

Guilt for not being skilled enough in self-restraint to give the apocryphal one-hundred-and-ten percent? Yes, you have a terrible procrastination habit. Do you seriously think nobody else does? I guess all the evidence is circumstantial; I’ll even go so far as to acknowledge that it’s generally counterproductive to try to compete with other people instead of yourself. You are already ridiculously different from the people around you. Any comparisons would have a zillion obvious points of incongruence. But that doesn’t mean the best option is to put yourself up to this flawless idealistic goal. You’re a human, and only a teenager at that. Special, maybe, but not that special.

You’re stressing yourself out. Coming back to school was supposed to be just as much of a diversion as a responsibility at this stage. Realize, people kill themselves over this stuff. Look at yourself. Are you really confident enough that you could never, ever be one of them?

Now, you need to get to work. Or relax, and well.

Good luck.

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One thought on “Juggling Everything

  1. Hey you use a different linguistic style.

    Yeah. I can’t even hold both my school’s grades and IMO trainings excellent, much less three things (those two plus anything else) that consume lots of time. I’ll add something: overdoing yourself makes you insane. Because you get WAY less time for refreshing, which means lots of stress and depression, which means insane. Meanwhile I use so much time for “refreshing” ._.

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