It seems like “balance” is the ultimate buzzword nowadays. Nobody really knows what it is, but everyone is trying to find it. Experts cannot seem to agree on whether or not it is possible to “have it all.” Early in my college career I was introduced to the idea that there are 3 S’s: social life, sleep, and studying (good grades), and you can only excel in two of the three areas.
During the autumn semester, my primary focus was on my grades and career search. I opted to forgo a lot of social opportunities for the sake of getting a good night’s rest because I knew my academics and recruiting efforts would suffer if I was not sleeping. This certainly paid off – I was thrilled with my grades and I received the job offer I was hoping for. Looking back, however, I definitely missed out on some fun experiences. Though I was “successful,” my life was not as balanced as I wanted it to be.
This past semester, I shifted my focus in an attempt to make the most of my remaining time in the MAcc. My academics continued to be my top concern, but I also prioritized having fun. There were definitely weeks where I was not as well-rested as I would have liked, but I would not trade the memories for anything. My grades have stayed about the same but I feel much more engaged in the program, which has made an already fantastic MAcc experience that much greater.
I think there is a misconception that “balance” is this all-or-nothing thing. I have come to believe that you can have it all, just not all at once and not all the time. For example, in January and February, I was preparing to take my first section of the CPA exam – BEC. For several weeks, my focus was entirely on preparing for my test. I pretty much nixed both “social” and “sleep” from my life. While this period was not the most enjoyable, it was only temporary. After taking (and passing!) BEC, I was able to return to a more “balanced” life since I no longer felt compelled to spend every waking moment immersed in Becker. I know I will have similar phases for the rest of my life, but there will also be plenty of times where I have the flexibility to get a good night’s rest, go out with friends, or take a hike.
At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing what you need to prioritize when. Sometimes that may mean opting to stay in on a Friday night in order to catch up on schoolwork. Other times that may mean putting the textbooks away for a spontaneous weeknight dinner with friends. Though I know balance is something I will continuously have to work at, I feel like this past year has helped me figure out what I need to feel both grounded, successful, and happy.