I believe in hard work, challenges and competition. I believe that nothing will happen if you aren’t truly willing to sacrifice time and energy. However, when your schedule is completely overwhelmed with homework and extracurricular activities, you’ve got yourself a problem.
Your grades are important, but so is your happiness. In fact, I did much better in school when I learned to allow myself to step outside its walls, metaphorically. Here are my three tips for achieving happiness:
1) Don’t prioritize studying, no matter what, over a good night’s sleep.
There is no reason to sacrifice seven hours of sleep to extra time to study because let’s be honest, if you need to stay up the night before the test to learn material, you probably won’t do much better on the exam than if you had just had a good night’s sleep. Also, this may sound silly, but never, ever go to sleep angry. Even if you’re having a fight with somebody or just mad in general, make sure to resolve it (at least in your head) before you go to bed. It’s extremely rare that I have bad nights of sleep and I truly believe that I’m a much happier person because of it.
2) One day a week should be dedicated purely for enjoying yourself.
Try to allocate a day’s worth of time each week to doing something you want to do. Whether it be hanging out with your friends, watching TV or being with family. Personally, I would always save Friday night and the entirety of Saturday to rest. Of course there are exceptions, such as AP exams and SATs, but overall I tried my best to keep that time free. My parents would often take my sisters and I on day trips to San Francisco. I had the chance to get to know and enjoy one of the greatest cities in the world, and now am forever able to navigate around major metropolitan areas.
3) Like what you do.
Don’t join the tennis team if you don’t like to play tennis. Don’t take APUSH or AP BIO if you aren’t interested in the subject material, and especially don’t hang out with people who don’t make you happy.
Your life isn’t just the things you can write down in an application or a resume. It’s so much more. You will be stressed in high school and you will have to work hard, but please take time to rest, recharge and do the things you love, not just what your school wants you to do. While my tips aren’t a foolproof recipe for happiness, they can help get you a step further towards self-fulfillment.
This is a guest post by Noa Livneh, a high school senior in the San Francisco Bay Area.