“The key to a happy, successful life is all about balance”


Tori Appel, Web Editor

Junior year is, infamously, the hardest year in high school. 

Now, as a junior myself, this popular belief has become my reality. With an increase in schoolwork, college suddenly appearing on the horizon, and many juniors taking AP classes for the first time, it is not uncommon for academics to take a larger role in a student’s life. To compensate for this, many students cut back on the extracurriculars and hobbies they genuinely enjoy, often dedicating their time instead to the activities they want on their college application. Especially for students with exceedingly high expectations for themselves, cutting out the things they enjoy to maintain good grades is an unfortunate reality. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

The key to a happy, successful life is all about balance. 

While academics are undoubtedly important, they shouldn’t cause you to sacrifice the things that make you happy. But academics shouldn’t be completely ignored, either. Finding your individual balance is crucial. 

I’ve found that taking breaks from schoolwork to do the things I genuinely enjoy not only improves my mental well-being, but also helps with my focus and productivity. CornellHealth. Cornell University’s medical and mental health services for their students, stated that “taking purposeful breaks (anywhere from [five to] 60 minutes) from studying to refresh your brain and body increases your energy, productivity, and ability to focus.” 

Whenever I need a break, I always find myself gravitating towards my piano. When I revisit old pieces that I like, I’m able to temporarily forget about whatever schoolwork I was previously stressed about. My brain gets a sort of “reset,” and once I go back to whatever I was working on, I definitely believe that I focus a lot better.

For some students, looking at their phone can be a nice break. However, CornellHealth advocates trying other activities as well, such as taking a walk, listening to music, talking to friends or family, reading, creating something visual, playing an instrument, or doing whatever else you truly enjoy. 

Nothing is more important than your happiness. 

So take that break. Try something new. Revisit something old. Take a deep breath. Forget about school—even if it’s just for a minute. 

School may be hard, but it’s temporary. Your happiness is forever.