We had the opportunity of interviewing Mojo Joshua Sonola, an alum of California Institute of Technology, about: Balancing Life
Mojo is a graduate of Caltech with a degree in degree in chemical engineering and a minor in computer science. In high school, he attended the Wheeler High School magnet program while dual enrolled at the Georgia Academy of Mathematics Engineering and Science. Throughout his life, Mojo has been involved in different extracurricular activities, revolving around music, sports, and leadership organizations. Mojo is currently an associate at Goldman Sachs.
Key points he makes:
. When I feel overwhelmed, I like to take a step back, take a break, and relax for a bit. I first ask myself if I can reshuffle any of my current tasks to help my workload calm down so I’m less overwhelmed. I’ll also use this time to remind myself why I’m motivated and to try to help push myself through my remaining tasks.
One important thing is learning the value in saying no.
Q: With so much going on in your life, did you ever feel overwhelmed? If so, how did you get over that?
A: I’ve felt overwhelmed many times in my life, even as recently as a few weeks ago. When I feel overwhelmed, I like to take a step back, take a break, and relax for a bit. I first ask myself if I can reshuffle any of my current tasks to help my workload calm down so I’m less overwhelmed. I’ll also use this time to remind myself why I’m motivated and to try to help push myself through my remaining tasks. Most importantly, I remind myself that I’m working hard for a better tomorrow and this feeling of being overwhelmed won’t last forever.
Q: What do you think is the most important thing in your life that has kept you motivated?
A: My motivation has always originated from my upbringing. Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, I watched my family struggle to provide. My siblings and I worked jobs throughout the end of our high school years and all through college to help relieve the financial burden. Going through this, I was always motivated to work hard enough such that my family and I never had to go through financial stress again because I know the physical and emotional toll that this had on us.
Q: What is your work ethic? Do you like to work with others or alone; in chunks of time or all at once, etc.?
A: I would consider myself a hard worker, sometimes too much of a hard worker. I take a lot of pride in my work. When I am very invested in something, I tend to give it my all even if this takes more time than I would like. Overall, I like to work with others because I believe a diversity of opinion leads to a much better result. I take frequent breaks while working so I can clear my mind and be more productive overall.
Q: What are some ways that you keep your physical and mental health in shape?
A: Since a young age, I’ve loved playing sports and I’ve used this to keep my physical health in shape. Outside of playing sports, I like to stay active and explore different cities across the world which has led to me staying in good physical shape. Equally important, I prioritize my mental health, using my friendships that I’ve made over the years to do this. During the pandemic, I’ve started to video chat my closest friends and my family to stay connected and have some sense of normalcy. Outside of this, I plan many vacations with my family and friends to travel the world and attend events. I’ve cut off relationships that are negative on my mental health and I’ve learned to prioritize my mental health because I know other people will not always make decisions based on my mental health.
Q: What are some adjustments you made as you transitioned into becoming an adult to help you live a better life?
A: One important thing is learning the value in saying no. It’s easy to always say yes to your friends and do everything that is thrown your way. I’ve learned to be selective in the things and activities that I do as time is a limited resource that I must optimize around. There is tremendous value in organization and stability so I’ve learned how to plan things in advance and create a schedule that helps me achieve my personal and work-related goals. Most importantly, I’ve learned the value of relationships and my health. I’ve seen firsthand the potential negative cyclical effect of a negative physical/mental health on the rest of my life - negative mental health begins to affect my work which then leads to a worse mental health, and so on.
Q: What advice would you give to high school students who are pushing themselves too hard?
A: Health is very important, no matter how hard you are pushing yourself, find time for your physical and mental health. As long as you are healthy and have a strong support system, pushing yourself at an early age can lead to benefits later on in life. I would also say it’s important to relax and have fun sometimes, and this will make sure you don’t burn out. I pushed myself very hard as a kid, but I always made sure I had fun activities to do.
Want to learn more about Mojo? Check out his LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-sonola
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