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Isabel Chien Lakeside (Seattle) HS | The "Perfect" Balance
 5/16/2018 12:00:00 AM

Author: Isabel Chien  
Grade: Junior
School: Lakeside (Seattle)
Mascot: Lions
League: Metro 3A - Mountain
Classification: 3A

The "Perfect" Balance
After twelve years of school and ten years of swimming, it has been a challenge finding a balance between doing well in a sport and succeeding in school. Many may believe that it is possible to succeed in only one; however, I am here to tell you it is possible to do well in both, but it will not be easy.
Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of going to a big named school with a stellar reputation. Perhaps this goal had been forced upon me by society or maybe it was a goal I truly wanted myself, but to this day I still can’t quite distinguish where it came from. Knowing I wanted to go to a prestigious college I realized doing well in just school wouldn’t be enough.
The process of getting in college was getting more competitive as the years went on, and I knew I needed to do well in another activity to stand out. It was a terrible mindset, but unfortunately it was the truth. This activity could have been anything: a sport, a club, an organization, an instrument. But I decided to focus my attention on the sport I was playing and put my energy and hard work there. I wasn’t (and still am not) naturally talented at swimming or school. I couldn’t not study for a test and still get an A, I couldn’t not try at practice and still drop time, or I couldn’t take a standardized test without studying and have a high score. I always felt like I was working a little too hard for what my outcomes were. Though I started off as being frustrated with myself, I eventually began to accept my abilities. Sure, I knew there were people who could do well without even trying, but that didn’t discourage me because I was simply not that way. After this realization, it seemed it was a lot harder for me to find a balance between school and my sport because I had to work so hard in both to be even just mediocre. Multiple times I would be satisfied with my grades in school, but then I would do awful at a swim meet. In a different scenario, I would drop loads of time, but then my grades would also drop. It seemed I was battling something I just couldn’t defeat. It was always a constant push and pull between school or swim; I could not just choose both.
However, as high school rolled around everything seemed to become more extreme. My high school grades became more important and there was a pressure of swimming exceedingly fast. I would eventually learn that high school is a time for a student to make themselves look as outstanding as possible on paper. The pressure was unbearable. When I was at practice I felt like I should be at home studying and vice versa. It was an endless cycle of confusion and distraught.
This cycle seemed to peak sophomore year. I remember distancing myself form friends and solely focusing on school and swim. Eventually my days began to mesh together; I couldn’t distinguish Mondays and Fridays from each other. However, just because I was solely focusing on school and swim didn’t mean my results were any better. I realized going into junior year there will be times when my grades and times fluctuate. I can’t pretend I’m someone I’m not; I can’t pretend I always have everything under control.
I guess after all my years of school and swimming my best advice at finding a balance between school and another activity is don’t put pressure on yourself to do well. Follow the flow. Work hard in both, and you will be happy with your outcome. There is absolutely no way a person can perform well if there is always a cloud of pressure hanging over their heads. If you don’t do another activity outside of school, I encourage you to get involved with a club at your school, a club sports team, or a WIAA sports team. Though it may sound intimidating to have two things on your plate, it’s a great way to exercise time management and have the pleasure of a harmonious balance between two aspects of your life, just always remember follow the current. One can’t control the outcome of everything.

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May 2018

5/16/2018 Isabel Chien Lakeside (Seattle) HS | The "Perfect" Balance
5/3/2018 Brayden Konkle Burlington-Edison HS | A Winning Coach

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