Academic-Life Balance

The MM program offers 24 intensive courses over the course of 9 months. Although this might sound like a wonderful time, I was mostly attracted to the program because of its location in stunning Vancouver. Vancouver and the greater surrounding area has something for every adventure seeker, and in order to best balance books and life in the city without losing your sanity, it’s very important you master the art of work-life balance. This is a skill that will continue to prove useful throughout your career and will lead to reduced stress, anxiety and overall a more pleasant life. Perfecting work-life balance comes down to setting personal priorities. Not just ‘Should I watch the new episode of Suits or the Bachelorette?’ – in which case the answer is always Suits. Rather, setting priorities involves critically questioning the type of person you are, what you want out of your life and where you want to be in your final days. Do you want to be the wealthiest person in the world or live a healthy, prosperous life, surrounded by those who love and care about you? There’s really no one right answer, as I mentioned, these are personal priorities and you cannot judge yourself based on the priorities of other people. Therein lies the key message I’m trying to convey: don’t judge yourself using scorecards made by others – you’re doing yourself a disservice. Remain focused on your priorities and don’t let other’s sway you from them. By no means does this happen overnight; knowing what you want is a long process which can involve years of self-actualization. While you’re setting your priorities consider this: What type of lifestyle do you want in the future? How will you take care of parents, siblings or anyone else who made you who you are today? Will you have time to care for other loved ones, a spouse or even kids? It’s pointless to plan every detail of your life, as such plans are bound to change, but thinking about these questions will allow you to figure out who you want to be.

Like in business, focus is crucial when trying to achieve certain goals in your life. Whether it be finding your dream job or a partner who loves trap as much as you, priorities will help you focus on the important things and stop sweating the small stuff. For example, if you realize you’re here to save the planet and prevent humanity’s certain doom, you’ll stop worrying about that C you got in Stats. So fellow and future MM students, if you ever find yourself getting stressed about school, work or any other facet of life, take a step back and breathe. Ask yourself if what you’re worrying about is really a priority or if your life will continue to progress without it. In my limited 21 years of experience, I find most people stress themselves out by comparing themselves to certain metrics created by and meant for others, be it friends, family or total strangers. As I often do, if you find yourself guilty in this matter, remember these words echoed by the great Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Samuel Arulnathan

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