Finding a Balance Across the Pond

    At 17 I stopped. It was my last year of high school and I hit the library. I didn’t even attend my prom. Something changed. In fact, for my freshman year of college I did nothing but study. I scored the highest grade in my year. That’s not to say it was boring — I had a beautiful girlfriend, my acoustic band won the college competition and I flew back and forth to LA.

    Still, why did it all change? Why did I receive a mug this Christmas that said “I love Spread Sheets!”? What happened to the party-loving me?  

    We are continually faced with decisions. I, for one, am petrified about making the wrong one. A decision I make today feels like it could result in years of financial hardship or social leper-hood.

    I strive to be the best — a Steve Jobs in the making and an Oscar-winning actor at the same time. I know I can’t be both but I want to be fantastic at something soon — I’m sure many of us know that feeling. But, I know that life is rushing by. 

    Apples iconic man himself stated ‘“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

    The problem is that we can’t be at every social event in the world and also win a Nobel Peace Prize. Both take a lot of hard work of which we are limited in our capacity. At college, can we really party every night and wake up with a 4.0 GPA on the day of graduation? No, unless we are President Obama or James Bond — unfortunately I lack the handsome good looks for the latter. 

    So what’s the advice? The only thing that pops up with predictable ambiguity is: Find the balance.  My life is tormented with that lovable word — some British sarcasm there. 

    Where does the balance lie? At the extreme, the Independent reads, “the body of Sarah Napuk, the brilliant young Oxford student who took her own life, was found with her study schedule next to her,” and in the same breath, the LA times reads, “USC student falls from sixth-floor dorm window after attending rave.” Failing to find the balance can have serious consequences. 

    In the end, which path will lead you to the presidency, to solving cancer or to finding that perfect family in the suburbs? Either way, it’s a continual struggle to get there. 

    As students, we find ourselves anxiously trying to get that balance each and every semester and often we fail wonderfully. The solution? Well, of course I don’t know. But balance or imbalance, I will not give up.

    —Chris Oliver-Byrne
    Sophomore, Loughborough University 

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