A student feels like she is walking on a tightrope due to the stress of school and life.
A student feels like she is walking on a tightrope due to the stress of school and life.
Sarabeth Wester

Finding your balance

Juggling school work as well as personal responsibilities can often feel like you are walking on tight rope.

Third-period journalism, I was completely overwhelmed after chapel. I opened up SSES to the terrible news: I had gotten a C on my Statistics project. I spiraled, it felt like everything was going wrong for me; in class, in sports, and in other extracurriculars, it seemed that I had let everyone down. I had been trying to please everyone with the fear that if I did not, I would upset my peers and disappoint the adults around me. 

I hadn’t cried at school until this point, but there I was, senior year, sitting in Mrs. Conn’s office, bawling. I had lost my passion and drive for my responsibilities and hobbies because I had lost my ability to balance the many parts of my life. Recently, it feels like I’m walking on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. One slip up and I will crash and fall to my doom into the depths below. I am the kind of person who will jump through hurdles to satisfy others. The most common way to describe my disposition is “people pleasing.” On a daily basis, I’ve allowed my own priorities slip up as a result of my people-pleasing tendencies. 

Being a people pleaser is hard. As defined in Psychology Today, a people pleaser is  “a person who has an emotional need to please others often at the expense of his or her own needs or desires.”  Two pitfalls people pleasers run into are putting others before themselves, and feeling a sense of failure when they let others down. 

By always putting others before yourself, you may neglect your own feelings and needs, ultimately allowing yourself to be harmed in the crossfire. 

There is a fine line between being proactive and helping others and overworking yourself. You see, that is where finding your balance comes in. In order to walk a tightrope, you have to be steady and remain calm. In order to be successful, you have to find stability. You cannot run yourself down to the point where you are no longer enjoying something that used to make you happy.  

This year, I personally feel this pressure, especially as I have stepped into a couple of leadership roles. I want to make everyone in my grade happy in regard to their senior speeches. However, I still follow the guidelines so everything is fair for each person. A lot of the time, handling the issues that come with the senior speeches also means sacrificing my time–unfortunately– letting other things fall through the cracks. 

By always putting others before yourself, you may neglect your own feelings and needs, ultimately allowing yourself to be harmed in the crossfire.

— Reese Williams

An example of this would be when seniors bail on giving their speech on their indicated day, and email us the night before.  I have to write something to say in Chapel. Unfortunately, that then forces me to push my other homework off and I end up staying up until one in the morning, finishing my work. 

When the waterworks poured down in journalism, I knew it was time to take a step back. I am not very open when it comes to my emotions, and the fact that I broke down said a lot. Sad as this situation was, it was necessary. I learned that part of finding my balance was prioritizing. So, what I have done is put my academics first and if that means letting adults around me help a little extra, so be it. I am by no means passing all of my responsibilities off. Instead, I am just letting people in, allowing people who are able, to help me. 

I hope that you never let yourself get to that point. Instead, take this as your wake-up call and allow yourself to say no. Say no to doing your friend’s part of the group project, say no to playing video games at midnight, say no to taking on the responsibilities of those who aren’t doing their part… just say no.

You’re not a bad person for saying no. You deserve to rest. Of course, I am not trying to encourage anyone to not do their work, but don’t take on more than you can handle. 

There are ways to get help,  talk to a trusted friend, teacher, or parent. High school is a stressful time for everyone, and it is important to know the “gravity” of finding your balance. 

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Comments (6)

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  • Derek WilliamsOct 27, 2023 at 11:14 am

    Reese, well said. Your growth and maturity has shined through over the past year. Work/life balance is a struggle for so many. Your acknowledgment that a person is allowed to give themselves permission find that balance is beyond your years. I’m proud of you! Keep leading! We need more Reese Williams in this world.
    Love- Dad

  • Dianne Faith WilliamsOct 27, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Yes, set your boundaries and stick to your values. It is especially hard when others fall down on their responsibilities.

  • Sue KonkolOct 27, 2023 at 6:49 am

    Thanks for sharing this important life lesson Reese! A great reminder we can’t do all things well. ‘Balance is the key to a healthy life’- (my mother’s own words)- whether you are a senior in high school or a new empty nester! So proud of you Reese- thank you for sharing your experience- you no doubt helped many others!

  • Nancy McCordOct 26, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    Wow. What maturity in your writing and thoughts. Great job.

  • Helena WilliamsOct 23, 2023 at 9:59 pm

    Reese I am so proud of you . You make daddy and I proud every single day . Your zest for life , your integrity through each challenge , and your pure heart make us so incredibly grateful that God gave us you for our daughter . Keep reaching for the stars . Love you -mom

  • Denise KesslerOct 23, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Wonderfully written, Reese. This life lesson is a difficult one. Thank you for sharing so your peers can learn from your experience.