To continue or to stop?

By Joshua Corcuera

Life is like a rough sea; there are ups and downs, triumphs and struggles.

For most people, especially students like me, life usually asks us a simple yet stressful question: continue or stop? For instance, someone who aspires to be a lawyer or a doctor enrolled in law school or medicine school. However, due to high tuition costs and lack of time for study, some students are faced with the question whether to continue pursuing their dreams or stop to sustain more urgent needs.

It is a difficult question—one that results in consequences that may impact one’s future. Would you sacrifice your dreams so that you can work full-time to help yourself and your family to have food on the table? Or would you rather struggle at present—deal with hunger and sleepless nights—with the hope that, four or five years from now, you would have achieved your ultimate dream whether to be a lawyer, a doctor, a CPA, an engineer, and so on.

Candidly, it is hard to imagine how a simple question can affect your life, especially your future. Ultimately, the decision lies in your own hands. It is entirely up to you whether to continue or to stop. I am of the opinion that there is no concrete answer to this question and the best decision depends on a case-to-case basis. After all, there are several factors that may contribute to your decision.

As an example, you cannot blame someone who decided to stop college so that he or she could work and help his or her family to make ends meet. This is especially true if you belong to an economically depressed household where you tend to worry if you can still eat something for tomorrow.

While some who are financially comfortable still face problems such as stress, anxiety, and mental health concerns. After all, we should not only be worried of our physiological needs, but also of our health and overall well-being.

And of course, there are those people who remain brave, committed, diligent, and persevering to the point that they are willing to suffer to attain their ultimate dream. But, when all is said and done, they have to ask themselves if the struggle was worth it or should they have just pursued a different path.

I ponder, however, that life will never be smooth and, regardless of the path you choose, there will be difficulties and roadblocks that stand on your path. It is an inevitable part of life that everyone—regardless of how rich you are, where you live, who you love—would have to deal with, whether you like it or not.

To end, I’d share this adage attributed to either the Chinese or Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, it said: “a gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

From here, one can realize that life is imminently full of challenges and struggles, but however rough the road may get, it is generally better to keep on trying. After all, a story of victory will never be complete without failure and struggles along the way.