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Can you juggle?

           Juggling is one of those things that is extremely hard to do no matter who you are.  Some end up being able to juggle really well when they find the right strategy, while others never get the hang of it.  A person’s motivation and thoughtfulness in their approach are the only things that can give them a chance in succeeding. 

            Before I get into why juggling should be important to you, I’ll tell you a bit about myself.  My name is Ali and I am currently in graduate school going for my doctorate in Psychology, with a certification in Neuropsychology and Biofeedback.  I am a huge nerd.  I always have been, and I always will be.  I love all things science, and am a big fan of learning in general.  This is probably why I typically describe myself as a student first, but there is so much more to me.

            This is where the juggling comes in.  In addition to being a student, I am also extremely passionate about volunteering, as well as my family and friends. When I was in grade school, I was involved in quite a few clubs, all having something to do with helping others.  All of my favorite things were under one roof, packaged in a neatly scheduled day.  In one day I got to learn a bunch of things, see all of my friends, and be really productive in all of my groups.  My school was juggling for me, and all I had to do was sit back and enjoy. 

            Unfortunately, as I enter adulthood, the burden is now on me to decide how to juggle my time between all of the things I need and love to do.  I am currently the president of the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN), in graduate school full-time, volunteering for other organizations, and trying to balance a personal life with my friends and family all scattered around the state and developing their own lives.  My juggling skills have been tested, and to be honest, I am not always succeeding.  Most things in our life take an extraordinary amount of time and energy.  For someone like myself, who feels a lot of pressure to not only make sure I am fulfilling my responsibilities, but doing so really well, this can all be very stressful.  I have been forced many times to make one thing more important than another, which does not always feel good, but is often times very necessary. 

            Sometimes it feels like my little world is spinning at 100 mph but the bottom line is always this: I’m happier when I am affecting the most people through volunteering, studying so hard that I fall asleep on my books, and squeezing in the time to see friends and family.  Yes, it may be that I simply like the feeling of being busy, but it is more than that.  I do all of these things because each is so important to me that I cannot imagine not having a single one of them in my life.  You see, when something makes you happy, you find a way to make it work.  Accept that it will not always be perfect.  Happiness does not necessarily come from having to do less, but from doing the right amount of all the things you love.  So if you are feeling like you are overwhelmed, take a look at what is really important to you and constantly work towards the right balance.  You may never find the right strategy to juggle perfectly every time, but you will get better.