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Take a Step Back and Breathe

"Mom, I have too much homework and too many tests to study for. I think I'll have to skip training tonight."

 As a dedicated student and athlete with many deadlines set before me, a constant dilemma I face is juggling my education and training. On days where I have an overbearing amount of academic responsibilities, I must sacrifice my training but I am also forced to sacrifice my leisure time and sleep. For me, the only difference between my education and athletic dreams is that my education is an obligation and it is something that I value above almost everything else. This is the reason I choose to sacrifice other things in my life- so I don't have to sacrifice doing what I love. 

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 To some people, I may seem like a composed teenager who has her priorities straight but let's be real; sometimes, I can't get my homework done or I can't make it to training and I often find myself breaking down from stress. It's so easy to share the glory of competing with those around me but it's not as easy to share the struggle that comes with it. When I leave school for tournaments, I can spend a few days just focusing on the joys of Taekwondo but I always struggle to get back to the reality of school once my week of feeling like a pro-athlete is over. I have been very fortunate to have encountered understanding teachers and coaches and helpful peers but it's not always enough to help me balance my work load. 

 Through my past few years of high performance Poomsae and education in the gifted program, I have learned that sometimes, you just need to take a step back and breathe. Not everything goes your way all the time and we all need to learn how to let go and move forward. A few years ago, if my grades fluctuated or if my competition results were not what I expected, it would hit me very hard but as I have gotten older, I have realized that I can’t be perfect in every aspect of my life.

Justina Yu

2015 - 2016- National Championships Junior Individual Gold Medallist
2016- 10th World Poomsae Championships Junior Individual Top 12
2016- AYNI