Recently, I was talking to a good friend of mine about colleges, and we were talking about all of the exciting opportunities that I could have. It is so cool that the options are limitless! We were saying that I could even move closer to an upper-level rider and train with them while going to school at the same time. I said that even though that sounds like a dream come true, I would also have to consider the expense of that. She responded with, “Work in exchange! You’re used to being overloaded.”
As soon as that text popped up, I stared at it for a while. It got me thinking, I am almost always overloaded to some extent. Where has that gotten me, though? What is the benefit of putting all of that pressure and responsibility on myself?
We really are used to being overloaded, especially as high school students. But do we have to overload in order to be successful?
Why do we have to cram everything in to our high school and college years just because we are young and fresh? After getting helpful feedback on my college post on Eventing Nation and Facebook, it really opened my eyes to how different everyone’s experience is. I had people telling me that horses were the only thing that got them through college and others saying that they are so grateful they didn’t bring their horse. Others said that they highly suggest not going to college until you’re really sure what you want to do. And some said that they balanced horses, school, a job, clubs, basically everything available to them, not wanting to trade that experience for anything. More people said that they didn’t go to college at all, or maybe went overseas to study. My point is, some people encourage you to do as much as you can- “It will keep you busy and out of trouble!” they say. There are also the people that have a strong opinion about “keeping the long-term in mind and focusing on your studies” in college.
But how much is enough? And on the other end of the spectrum, will I know when is it too much, or will I just keep pushing through and chalk it up to “it’s just what I have to get done?”
I want to be able to do it all. I want to accomplish everything now and get as much experience as I can at a young age, so that I can be prepared later in life. But do I really need to put so much pressure on myself as a 17 year old? It’s scary thinking about how no matter how much I prepare myself, how hard I work, or how many tasks I load onto my plate, I might never end up on the path that I desire.
In the end, though, I think that I would rather have done all I could and not make it than not have done enough and regret it. It is definitely a challenge to find a balance of everything, and I have learned more about what works for me and what doesn’t as I get older. I know that with great friends and family who will do anything to help and see me succeed, I will be okay.