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Prioritize Your Happiness: Finding Balance Between Work and Fun

I think it’s time we spoke candidly about work-life balance. As a junior in college, I have finally accepted the fact that this idea of “work-life balance” that “grownups” always go on about  is actually really, really hard to obtain. For example, while I write this article I have This is Us playing in the background. It’s quite a good show, folks, and I am having an incredibly difficult time turning it off. 

Is watching television while completing work considered balanced? I have to go with no. I think the balanced thing to do in this scenario would be to turn This is Us off, finish writing this article, and then turn it back on. You know: work, then fun. 

In all seriousness though, I am sure every college student can relate to the “trying to do work while watching tv” struggle. For me, there are a lot of other obstacles that get in my way while trying to balance fun activities and the work I need to complete. For example, sometimes I am so overwhelmed by all the assignments that I feel frozen. Not only do I not do my work, but I feel no motivation to do anything fun either. The other night, I could not decide if I wanted to do my reading assignment before bed or early in the morning. I spent over 30 minutes just thinking about whether I was going to start the book or not. Looking back, a great way to strike a balance in that situation would be to put the book down after deciding to read it in the morning, then relax and go hang out with my friends. Instead, I sat there anxiously. So, with that being said, my first piece of advice when it comes to work-life balance is this: when it’s time for work, it’s time for work. However, when it is time for fun, try not to stress about the things you have not done, but focus on living in the moment and enjoying yourself. 

Another piece of advice I have gathered over my college years is that when you’re presented with an opportunity to do something fun, you should say yes. College life can often feel extremely mundane: wake up, go to class, do homework, repeat. I have, in the past, turned down an invitation because I felt overwhelmed by my academic obligations. The truth is, you can always find another time to work if it is really important to you. Maybe I wake up an hour earlier the next morning, or spend some time on Saturday catching up on work. If you are constantly turning down fun to get stuff done, you’re most likely going to feel like you are missing out.

While I still have a lot to learn, I do know that for me, finding enjoyment every day is extremely important. While some people may find school work enjoyable, I tend to mainly find it stressful. So, while I continue working towards my degree, it is imperative that I block out time to do the things that bring me joy.

Nicole is a Junior at Kenyon College studying Spanish and gender studies. Hailing from northern New Jersey, Nicole is passionate about wildflowers, baby animals, and small bodies of water. In addition to writing for HCK on-campus, Nicole plays on Kenyon's ultimate frisbee team, blu-ray.
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