Sue + Life 3 • Why so serious?

There are periods of time in my life that I was a studyholic. I may have adapted this from my parents; my father is a hard-working man and my mother wanted the best for me, thus they have put invisible pressure on me when I was younger at school. Their belief is that when you study hard, you will get a good job, which provides you a stable life. Typical Chinese.

I was first against this thought since I was the rebel and youngest child out of the three. I simply did whatever makes me happy and I have learned to be satisfied with my own achievements despite my parent's (higher) wishes or expectations. But somehow, there is still a part of me that puts the pressure on myself from time to time.

SEOUL. There are two studyholic periods that I can remember clearly. First, it was my exchange programme abroad in Seoul. Instead of having fun, meeting friends and going out every week, I was focused on my studies. Not because I wanted to, but because I was unlucky to have a particular teacher for several modules. In that year he decided to have quizzes for every chapter, for every module he lectured. I have 3 from the 6 modules from his. Great. This meant that I had 4 to 6 quizzes every week for every chapter which was 30 pages long! I had a choice (or not) to have a fun study experience or work my ass off and get good grades. I went for the second option. Back then, I felt like there wasn't even an option for me because that "perfectionist" in me wanted to do good and achieve high grades. I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist actually, because I'm not. Striver is a better word. I was stressing like crazy. Because of stress I got acne, hair loss, sickness and whatnot. I was sad, depressed and have cried a lot. To be honest: I have never ever studied that hard before in my entire life. But indeed, hard work pays off and I have received a really high grade overall for my modules, which then has also increased my overall Bachelor's degree grade to a 2:1 or 7/10.

LONDON.The second time is the first semester of my Masters degree here in London. I was always very conscious of the gap between Bachelor's and Master's. The first semester was tough. It was not only my first time Masters experience, but also first time studying for a degree abroad. What are their standards? What do they expect? How much error margin is allowed? I have put so much pressure on myself and was stressing out again. Combined with severe homesickness I was very unhappy, constant worried and depressed again. However, this time I did have a choice. I have chosen to go to the UK to achieve my Masters degree and have come here with the intention to study hard. There comes the striver in me again: I need to do this.

I CARE. Luckily I'm blessed with good and smart friends.
Friend 1 just simply told me: "Sue, why do you study so hard? You don't need to take study and life so serious. You also need to have fun!"
Friend 2 who is a psychology/coaching student did a coaching session with me. She tried to uncover the underlying reasons for my behaviour and feelings.The reason why I was stressing out is that I felt I need to do my best and was therefore creating that massive pressure. We have uncovered why I wanted to do well: because I care. And the most significant part is to turn the negative 'I need to do my best' into the positive 'I care' and strengthen that part. 'I care' is engraved metaphorically in my soul. The conclusion is that I should not worry about doing my best, but trust myself  and my own capabilities because 'I care' and be less stressed because, I am going to do it one way or another.

They are right. They totally hit the spot! Why are we taking some things too seriously? Don't we need to include the joy towards that thing too? Then, I have indeed forgot this quote: "Life is a journey, not a destination." Even though you are aiming and striving for your achievement, you are still a person with feelings and longing for happiness. I don't think it's right to shut off that happiness factor in order to achieve some thing. Some cases maybe yes, but for my two cases.. no.  The achievement, is a consequence of your effort. Despite this effort, your mental and healthy state is the most important, especially if you want to keep achieving.

These two advices has really helped me to worry less, stress less and be more happy! Thus this quote:
I found this quote in a coffee shop in a hidden corner between big buildings in city centre of Galway. Even though it sounds quite ironic, I truly believe this is the strong essence of life. I took life way too seriously. No matter how serious you are, how studyholic or workholic you are, you need to have a part of your life that is filled with fun & happiness too. There needs to be a balance. You can't always work or study hard if it makes you lonely or sad. Nor you can't always have fun or can you?  ;)

Nevertheless, life is too short to do only the serious things. We only have one life, fill it in with sprinkles of happiness and pleasure, and die without regrets shall I say ;).