It is essential for me to seek the balance that helps make life
easier to live, as I am totally blind. I take at least double the time
to complete most assignments. At the time I chose my classes, I
had no idea how much I could handle at once. To add pressure to the
dilemma, I was not careful in choosing my classes
for my junior year, nor was I certain which courses I
desire to pursue.

I knew I couldn't do all AP courses, but I wanted to at least be in
either AP courses or honors. I was in as many honors classes as
possible. However, the only AP course I took was AP history.

I was in physics and I had a hard time understanding the material. I
went back to his class after school to receive extra help to
understand physics. On occasion, I had to juggle finishing
a math test as well. Sometimes I was there until four-thirty;
once I didn't leave school until five-thirty.

I also happened to have a tough Spanish instructor and a math teacher
who assigned many math problems, which took up a large chunk of time.
The two subjects took so much time, I found it difficult to fit in
other assignments from different subjects, which were also significant. I
had to read a chapter per night for AP history, and if I fell behind
it was even more. One chapter alone took up at least an hour and a
half. English assignments were also complex and often took up a lot of
time as well, often an hour or two. I was also writing for the school
newspaper which was, at the time, seemingly simple. However, the assignments
had to be done in a timely manner, as well as the newspaper, which could not
wait. I had each class every other day, and most times I didn't get
home until four–thirty. I found it hard to manage all the work and
very soon fell significantly behind. I didn't understand half of the
material in class either, and half of the time I was too focused on my
inner struggle to finish. I wanted to do well for every class, but
each was difficult and with a massive workload. Each teacher was
equally frustrated, and demanded that their class was more important than
the rest. I really had no idea what to do, but I persisted. I was
determined to make the best out of it. I knew I needed to push forward
with my education, as dropping out was not an option, however much I had
thought about it. I know I need the education and I want it. I just
couldn't stand the pressure. I tried talking to my teachers, but no one
seemed to understand. My English teacher at the time created more
drama by having conferences with me and giving me contracts. I was at
my wit's end trying to fulfill them. I didn't want every English class to be
painful; as if school at the time wasn't painful enough. I was often
stressed and very tired, although I tried my best to hide both. I
pretended that I could do it. Half the time I was not ready to go to
school. It was partially because I was so tired and stressed, but I
was thinking about too much, as the inner stress was too heavy.

By the time it was too much, I had already dropped physics.
This happened in mid October. I had no choice about that because I was
failing it, despite the good teacher and all the help he was able to
provide me. I just didn't get the concept and the curriculum. I did,
however, pick up the AP Environmental because I had to take a science and that
was the only one I could possibly take. It was easier than most
classes, as I have studied the topic in the past for fun, but it was
still challenging. I struggled in the class as well.

Finally in mid November, after many sleepless nights of stress, days
of inner struggles, and many piled up assignments that promised to be
almost impossible to do, I realized something.

Life is not about how much honor is compiled or achieved. It's not
even about the honor, trophies, and how fast you could get through
something. Life is about enjoyment, learning, achievement, and
sometimes just living. There was no reason to be so stressed and tense,
to risk my health and mental stability by piling on pressure, and
getting all the honors if I couldn't handle it. I was persistent in
getting the most out of life and yet get as many honors. I switched
classes and organized and reorganized my schedule and work habits to
achieve the highest of honor I could. I found it to be unhealthy
whatever I did with all the work in mind.

Finally, I decided that my health, mental stability, ability to learn,
ability to focus, and a balanced life was more important. I realized I
couldn't accomplish all this and live normally. I discovered I had too
much on my plate and that it was the root of the problem. I decided to
drop AP world History and honors English. This left me with only AP
Environmental Science. It was still challenging, but at least now it
was manageable. I could have better grades, learn more, complete the
assignments, and most of all, I wasn't so stressed and pressured. I was
able to live a healthier life.

Through this experience, I learned that the awards, trophies,
acknowledgments and honors wasn't the most important thing in life.
They may be good things, but shouldn't be the ultimate goal. Sometimes,
the best honor is self gratification. Sometimes, one can only try
their best, work hard, but yet don't let the work possess them or
run their life. The most important thing to life is to be
knowledgeable, to live well, to be happy with yourself, and to achieve
as much productivity as you can within reason. It is important to work
hard and to do whatever one can to be the best person that one can be,
but it is equally important to watch ones health and not let the doing
ruin a life, as humans are priceless and one can only live once.