Senior Opinion: Individuals should prioritize their needs


Priorities: we all have them, and we all create our own systems of values to determine what we should spend the most time doing. However, when you are involved in many activities and have responsibilities, this system can get muddled. You should always prioritize your health and well-being above anything else. I learned this a little over a year ago when I decided to try out for the cheer team.
During the work week for tryouts, they held interviews. When they called my name and I sat down, they asked me one question: “Why are you here? You’re not exactly our ‘typical candidate’.” As a jack of many trades, I can see why they questioned my choice to tryout, I already had so much on my plate, and it was clear that I had always been a tomboy. To be honest, after years of rejecting my femininity, I knew I needed to embrace it. It became clear that cheer was part of that journey. After a week of waiting, working and practicing, the results were in: I was a varsity cheerleader.
Not only was this now an extra commitment, but in a series of unfortunate events, it lead to the experience that would teach me what I never knew I would learn. During a summer cheer practice I was hit in the head during a stunt. I went to the Emergency Room about five hours later and was diagnosed with a concussion. I was immediately bitter. A first-year cheerleader whose entire life is her brain, gets a concussion? It felt unfair. I later discovered that like many unfair things in life, this was meant to teach a lesson.
Every activity I have ever been involved in has demanded that it be my priority. My boss even told me, “work should be your priority.” Debate, forensics, newspaper, work, cheer, family, and school all wanted me to do their work first, spend my time at their events instead of others, and just generally care about them the most. After my concussion, I had to take a break from all of my activities. This step back allowed me to assess them with some distance. It is difficult to see how things affect you when you are inside of them.
So what can a person do about this? Decide to no longer push yourself until you break. Instead, prioritize your health. This is not just taking sick days when you need them, it is taking preventative measures to ensure your brain, body and being will last and be there when you need it most. Your overall well being is more important than other people’s expectations.