How I managed to “balance” my academic life and my extra-curricular life.
I never knew how to balance it.
I never figured out the secret formula on the balancing act.
Some days, my academics matter the most (that’s when you know I’m on the brink of getting a bad grade and you can’t see me because I’d be pulling an all-nighter and getting myself serious coffee -I usually don’t drink coffee because it will just upset my stomach). Most days, my extra-curricular activities are calling my name (that’s when I can’t even comb my hair and put on my intimidating-million-worries-face).
I don’t know the secret to balancing both life since I’ve got only one life in this game.
I’m still in awe on how I manage to snug both in one setting with me in one piece!
What I do know though, is this.
It will always begin and will always end in the spectrum of love (and priorities of course!). You don’t learn it overnight nor just a year, it’s a continuity of some sorts. The first year will be about adjusting, the next year it will go smoothly (okay maybe less) because you’ve learned the ropes.
I started being involved academically ever since I uttered “school”. Bravely defying all odds to crash the class by being late and grabbing the chalk from my teacher. Talk about being two and without manners! This probably is one of my mother’s vivid memory when I entered pre-school. Trust me, my pre-school days as what I can remember is so the spoiled me.
Moving up to grade school didn’t even tamed down the spoiled me. Though I studied, it was mainly because at the end I know I’d get my reward. I cannot remember what reward that was, but I know that if I do my best it will be waiting at the end of the finish line. They say that the highlight of my academic achievements happened during grade-school. True, but it wasn’t entirely the test of my capacity till high school came.
Dear high school, the time where I realized I’m not made to be just in class and answer questions and solve solutions. This was the first time that I laid my eyes on leadership and that was indeed love at first sight. I’ve seen girls wearing green and marching their hearts out at the amphitheater and I told myself I wanted to be like them. I didn’t get the opportunity to do that during my first year though. I ended up entering my application come second year and to tell you the truth I honestly did not expect that the training to become a girl scout in San Jose would be so hard (our training is patterned after the Boy Scouts because of the teachings of late Sir Damazo). My two weeks was hell. It drained my physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My “proud” self, the self that feels “too important” finally realized how small I am, how I don’t know everything. We do it differently in scouting, it’s more than what they say as harsh, it was more on tough love. And that’s the reason why even at times, I try to tone it down, the main influence of my leadership journey will always go back to scouting. I learned that it doesn’t make sense to lead without doing it, to scold without actually complying, to react when you don’t even try. It didn’t stop there though. It became a landslide of extra-curricular activities, from handling the Publications, to leading the Recollect Augustinian Youth (voc jams are the bomb!), to getting whirled in the life of debate and other extra-curricular activities in school. Dubbed by most people as “stressed-girl” during high school, I just laughed it off because I wasn’t stressed, I just learned how love feels like. Don’t get me wrong, even if I handled a lot of organizations, my academics is not entirely polished! I remember crying in class because I can’t balance the sheets in accounting, I remember crying because for four consecutive times, I failed in my physics exam because I could not get the answer even if the formula is given. I was that student, too. I slept late because thesis happened and slept late preparing for org events. I cried a lot when I get stressed. I usually joked around and say that crying is good for my eyes because it’s cleansing. But eventually, my academics went and moved according to the flow and my organizations followed suit.
What I can say is that truly, I’m not just made to just sit in class. I’ve learned the very essential values in extra-curricular activities. I’ve been shout at by my mentors with lines that goes, “Apolinar, don’t give me problems. Give me solutions to your problems!” Or “Apolinar, everyone is dispensable. Just because you are the best doesn’t mean you can’t get replaced. So practice!” And my favorite line, “Humility, always.”
Looking back, I guess that’s how I got tough. Looking back, I couldn’t be anymore proud to my mentors and leaders way back. I owe to it to Tita Grace, , to Mommy Quat, to Miss Seville, to Ma’am Tomaroy, Kuya Melvin and among many others. Looking back, I owe my experience to them to who I am now, what I am now and where I am now.
I told myself that it would be pure stupidity to enter in org activities during college. Indeed, I was the funny one because during the first week of college, I remembered crying (okay guys, himi jud kaayo ko) because I don’t have anything to do and it was driving me insane! The best decision was to join orgs and it was truly the best decision.
I’d always have my Debate, JJD and SSC to thank for throughout my college life. For continuously molding me and challenging me to try to find ways to handle organizations. Trust me, it wasn’t easy! I was trained differently and I got slightly confused on how to adjust. On some cases, that wasn’t the case. I’m still the strict person who’d always nag about deadlines, cleanliness, being on time, and whatever I find at that moment. Debate though was another story! It was more of like finding a reason to stay, and I couldn’t be anymore prouder because in staying, I’ve learned the value of what it means to be in love. So as the council, I promised to never get involved when I will reach my fourth year in Uni because I would dedicate my last year studying and spending it with the friends and answering invitations of conferences in the country and even abroad. But it didn’t happen that way though. But I never regretted it because if I didn’t entered the council, I would never know the people who would become my earphones and shock absorbers. I’d always be thankful to the council for letting me learn and open up the soft side of myself (secretly haha).
I’ve maybe witnessed my growth. Maybe people who have been with me witnessed my growth. Whichever way.
I still remember doing my org list if I get bored at class and doing my acad list if I know that I might fail the subject.
I’ve had this idea that I’d only bring my homeworks to the house and leave org matters at school. Guess what? I’m not bringing both because the house is for sleeping and binge-watching series!
College was entirely different in terms of academics. The competition scene is there but it was mostly on how I manage to endure not sleeping early and making written works. Trust me, I feel like half of my college days was spent sleeping because I can’t think clearly when it comes to my academics. But the feeling to get a low grade because I didn’t study made me challenge myself more because I have this idea that if I studied, I would have gotten a better grade plus a different set of reward was waiting so I had to make an effort.
I guess it’s a matter of priorities and goal setting. I guess it’s always that. I still put my acads on top of my to-do-list and label my organizations according to importance. And though I skipped class because of my orgs, trust me, I cried on that, too! It will always be a burden for me to catch up, but I love the thrill and the excitement of both and I guess that I might suck at building my own studying habit (which I do recommend to have one!), I managed to suck it up and work my way.
The road wasn’t easy. This is where my family and friends comes in and I couldn’t be anymore than happier. I will never forget their nagging and pressures to live up being responsible! Indeed, it surely pays off.
I guess this is for the days that I didn’t go home, this is for the Sunday’s and the week that I’m away to some place debating, or fixing an event. This is for the idea that I’ve become a boarder in my parent’s house. This is for the days that I want to give up and quit. This is for the days that I recited the Desiderata for guidance and the Don’t Quit Poem for motivation. This is for the days that I said, “go on, Kimmy, try again. And this time try super hard! You are superwoman anyway. So suck it up and don’t cry ma ruin imong eyeliner.” This is for the days that I asked fro help from the people around me. This is for everyone who has been my inspiration.
So congrats, self! For slightly breaking the idea that just because your life revolves on your extra-curricular activities, you can’t excel academically.