OPINION: Don’t wait to live your best life

Just because we’re at USF and not Barcelona doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice our work-life balance. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

Be honest — would you rather be living your best life in Europe year-round or work at a desk until you’re 65 in Tampa?

During study breaks, I often find myself scrolling through social media seeing many users romanticize the European lifestyle. 

With finals season quickly approaching, Bulls need to remember the importance of maintaining a proper work-life balance. I did this by planning out a schedule that allows time for personal life and participating in activities that are actually fun to be a part of.

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As a pre-med student, I get it. It’s hard to prioritize a work-life balance when you get 20 Canvas notifications a day. 

But if I am able to do it, you can too. 

Even now as a student, before starting my actual career, I have had to miss out on my dad’s birthday and my little cousin’s school plays because I was too busy with schoolwork or studying for a seemingly impossible exam.

Instead of dragging out the toxic work-life balance we are surrounded by in the U.S., I have implemented new practices in my life that may help you. 

The first thing I did to improve my work-life balance was plan things out. 

I make it a priority to schedule classes so I have enough time during the day to study and relax. I scheduled my first class of the day in the morning and my last class ending no later than 3:15 p.m.

In between classes I also often treat myself to a coffee or croissant. I take a moment to enjoy the present and find a way to unwind between hours of work.

With this schedule, I can finish all my academic responsibilities early and have at least two hours daily to enjoy life and relax.

After going to classes and studying, I use my free time to enjoy reading “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” catching up with my hometown friends or watching episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

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Once I started implementing this practice, I noticed that my mental health began to improve and I gained a sense of control in my busy life as a student.

I am a strong believer in the phrase “You only live once” and at this point of our life we should embrace this. 

Weekdays are important, but weekends are pivotal. 

While it is important to keep up with studies over the weekend, planning time to go explore Tampa or go for a walk is one of the best things you can do for a proper work-life balance.

Being a pre-med student does not make prioritizing work-life balance easy, especially since it requires me to keep busy with extracurriculars apart from my classes.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do as USF offers so many opportunities for students to find an activity that they truly enjoy.

I am a part of Camp Kesem, an organization that provides a summer camp for children with parents that have cancer. I also volunteer as an interpreter at USF’s Bridge Clinic, a free clinic where I can truly enjoy helping others.

I found that by surrounding myself with others who love the same things I do, these activities no longer seemed like something to cross off my to-do list. 

Just because we aren’t in Barcelona mindlessly sipping cappuccinos at a cafe doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate this work-life balance lifestyle into our lives at USF.