Finding the balance

Liang Xue is currently studying Bachelor of Arts (criminology and psychology) at the University of Melbourne. She is also a contributor for Unimelb Adventures. You can follow her on Instagram @liang.xuee

Responsibilities, commitments, to dos, – whatever you choose to call it. We all have them, whether we want them or not.

Family, friends, university, work to extra-curricular commitments: everyone’s life is constantly moving. In life, there are always tasks that we expect ourselves to do or others expect and rely on us for.

With the semester reaching its half-way point, many of us are still trying to figure out a balance. What tasks should we prioritize? Is there something else that we’re meant to be doing? When is that essay due again? Within this journey, I believe it does give us a chance to learn more about ourselves and our values.

In my peak assessment time, in the midst of assessments, club meetings, social life and work, I wanted to hide. I wanted to hide and say ‘NO’ to all my responsibilities. Procrastinating assignments, cancelling on friends, pulling a sickie with work: I wanted to cancel everything outside of my studies. This was super dramatic I know, especially since I still had time to fit in three episodes of a TV show each day as well as scroll endlessly through social media.

When I see the due dates and deadlines in my diary, I think to myself, ‘Why did I say yes to this? How can I get out of it? I do not have any time for myself now’. To some degree, I felt resentment for it taking up so much of my time. During these times of stress and being wrapped up in assessments, I try to take the opportunity to realize why I worked so hard to get where I am in the first place. I realized that I do forget to see my responsibilities as also being opportunities.

When the busy times passed, I reflected on why I did make the commitments and take up the opportunities in the first place. I thought back on what I have been able to contribute, but also what I have also been able to learn and grow from the opportunities I had.

I felt guilty for not appreciating that and the people that have contributed to all that I have learnt. The people and the opportunities that have invested in me. The self-pity I had for not having any time and being the one that is always giving and investing into others and commitments was narrow sighted. At times like these, I have to remember that everyone is also going through their own issues.

I’m trying to do better at changing my perspectives, it will take some time and work, but it will be for the better. I hope I will not keep getting trapped in this narrow bubble I can find myself in.

I believe that sometimes we choose to reduce our commitments for a number of reasons. They may be commitments that you are really passionate about or have been involved with for a long time. It can be hard to explain these reasons to those around us and even to ourselves.

I hope that we can make commitments and time for what matters to us. But to also give ourselves the flexibility for when our priorities, and the capacity to commit time and energy changes.

We expect a lot of from ourselves and want to try to do as much as possible to the best standard that we can bring. But at times we also need a break, to take a pause from powering on. We may want to do it all now. But it is more than okay to not too. We always can have next week, month and year to try again or even make space for something new to come.

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