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Are you pushing yourself too hard?

2 years ago

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By Patrick de Kretser As students, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what school we go to, we will always have this overbearing feeling that a lot is expected of us on the academic stage. Everyone has a different approach to their studies and how they choose to prepare for their exams. Some of us are committed students who stay on the books from day one till the day of the exams, while others choose to binge study closer to the exams instead. We all have our own study schedules, our own timetables to follow, and our own methods to use to propel us towards that important grade at the end of the academic year. While no one can deny how important studies are for our future, we also cannot deny how important it is to put ourselves first and not stress ourselves out with the weight of these expectations. We as students often go through a lot of emotions as a result of the stress from the classroom. Whether you are a high school student or a university freshman, there really is no escaping the occasional anxiety you feel about doing well for your finals. You might feel that there is a lot resting on you to perform – whether expectations of your parents, pressure from your peers, or even an uncertainty about your own future. For many young students, failure is not seen as an option. There is a reason why depression amongst teenagers is higher these days than it was a few decades ago. The academic environment has changed and the after effects of globalisation have moulded a world that is a great deal more competitive and intense for up-and-coming graduates from high school and university. There is almost a consensus amongst many teenagers that it is “all or nothing”; you either have to aim high and succeed as soon as possible in life or you will be left behind to reside in misery and despair. What is even more alarming is how many young students turn to suicide as a result of being overwhelmed in this aspect – suicide is the third leading cause of death worldwide amongst those aged between 15 and 24. So it is imperative that we take a step back and reflect on where we are right now. Because regardless of how overwhelming our lives might seem and how great the expectations may be for us to succeed, there is no reason why we should not put ourselves first. Every so often, you need to take time out of your study schedule to focus on yourself and your own happiness. Believe it or not, there is time for you to relax and unwind even though you feel there isn’t. We disconnect ourselves so much from everything else that goes on around us – sometimes, this is because of how much we focus on our studies, which is often not a good tactic to follow. You need to realise that your goal in life, first and foremost, is your own happiness and joy. What we do and what we study and pursue later in life is all supposed to add to that happiness, not be the sole reason for it. In life, we will often go through hiccups, phases when we experience both the best and the worst that the world has to offer. These things are natural and they will happen in life, so blaming yourself for your own shortcomings because you feel that your life is not progressing as quickly as you would have liked is not healthy. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you do not push yourself too hard. Remember not to constantly keep expecting more from yourself every single time. Life is a learning curve; our success and failure is not measured by the grades we get on a paper or how long it takes for us to break into a proper career path. Our success is measured by our ability to take things as they come, to embrace the good days and the bad days, and realise that it is natural to have setbacks at times. Obviously that is easier said than done and I imagine a lot of you reading this will think that my advice is too general and unhelpful at first, but it is something that will help you only if you commit it to memory. After all, we all want what is best for ourselves. So take a step back and use this time to realise how important it is to put ourselves first and take it easy sometimes, because we should all move forward into the future feeling good about ourselves and where we are right now. Photos I-LABS, Talentcor, HONOLULU Family, Goalcast

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