This is my fourth year in a highly competitive academic environment, and I think I am finally getting a handle on the fact that grades, though important, are not everything. I have let my grades basically rule my life for so long, and been thoroughly stressed out the whole time. It's exhausting, really. Every time my friends and family who aren't at school with me see me, they comment on how tired I look. Actually it's usually one of the first things that my Mom says every time I see or talk to her, whether I see her, or am even talking on the phone.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to put in the effort, still work for those good grades. I'm just trying to make them have less of an impact on my life. The sobbing breakdowns on the phone with my mother do not need to happen. They are as unpleasant for her as they are for me. My first year living at school, it literally got to the point where my Mom didn't want to talk on the phone with me because it usually ended with me bawling my eyes out about some assignment that seemed to important at the time, but now I see that it was so trivial. The work is still necessary, you will still find me furiously taking notes in class and when I do assigned readings. I will still be doing all of the homework and practicing as much as possible. But there are so many other things that are important too.
Family is definitely one of those things. Now that my middle sister is also away from home, and Dad is always traveling with work, just leaving the littlest one with Mom, it seems so important to me that I stay in touch with everyone. I love the phone conversations where there can be a break in the conversation for what some would think is an awkwardly long amount of time, but we don't care because that's how comfortable we are with one another. I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at keeping in touch with my friends and family. That is something that I have been working on, maintaining relationships with people that I love, and it's not easy. Not only am I bad at keeping up, the communication skills that I have in regards to emotions are severely lacking. I just hope that the people in my life can see how important they are to me, and how much I love them.
Other activities, such as Bible study, and volunteering with the NCSU Student United Way, that I am the president of (which, by the way, still blows my mind) take up a bit of time. That was something that I used to feel guilty about on some level, because it took away from my studying. But seriously, those things are just as, if not more important than hitting the books. I'm going to look back at my college experience in twenty years and not remember how dedicated I was, or how long I spent studying. I'm going to remember the people and the times that had an impact on my life, and I am grateful for that.
People have been telling me for a while now that I work too hard, and I'm just now realizing how right they are. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been here by my side to support me, and to try and keep my head where it should be. Mom has always told me two things: 1) Everything happens for a reason, 2) You've got to keep perspective. I didn't realize the impact that those two statements would have on me and my thinking, but I think I'm beginning to. Thank you.