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Prioritize happiness over success

by Cassandra Bond

It is 1 a.m., and you are still working on the English paper that’s due the next day. We are all familiar with this dreadful feeling of a seemingly endless stream of schoolwork and late nights. We sacrifice a lot to be proud of our grades and academics, but our success in school cannot measure up to our happiness. In a study of high-performing California students by Challenge Success, 70 percent of students feel stressed from schoolwork. At such a high percentage, it is easy to wonder whether we focus too much on our grades. When our grades seem to define our youth and future, it is easy to justify sacrificing our happiness for straight A’s, but our determination and desire to succeed drives us to trade-o of some of the happiness we need. Although it seems like the only way to be happy in the future is to succeed academically now, it is more important to find happiness in the present.

Thee stress of academics can hold back the enjoyment of life. When these worries affect our well-being it is hard to feel content with the other aspects of our lives. e moments that we treasure in the long-run are the ones of happiness and laughter with friends and family, as opposed to the hours spent finishing a math worksheet. On the other hand, the outcome of good grades seems like an easy way to rationalize the sacrifice of our well-beings. As we succeed academically, the reasoning goes, we will succeed later on in life and then be happy. According to Pew Research Center in 2014, 86 percent of adults ages 25 to 32 who have bachelor’s degrees are currently employed. e basic road to a successful career, as society dictates, is through a four-year college, and entrance into that is partially based on high school grades. With that pressure in mind, it is easy to forget about our health when academics seem to play such an important role in our futures.

However, schoolwork does not always have to be something negative—sometimes, school can also be a source of happiness. For example, there are classes and clubs offered at Gunn that help to promote emotional wellness. Classes such as Positive Psychology help students learn about the different ways to increase their happiness in daily life. There are also programs offered such as yoga that can aid in relaxation throughout the day. We should also find ways to include activities that make us happy in our day to attain academic success that we desire. Although academics seem like the be all end all, they should never com- promise our mental happiness. When we are not feeling our best, it is harder to perform our best, so to have that academic success we desire, we have to put our happiness first. Our emotional well-being should always come before everything else. Whether or not academics is what makes us happy, it is important to find a balance that can help us feel our happiest.

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