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Literal Translation: Studying without play wastes away young age.
English Equivalent: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

If there was one thing I learned from my dad, it was to appreciate good music. I grew up listening to 1970s and ‘80s hits – songs that he jammed to when he was in his 20s. Listening to songs like CC. Catch’s “Cause You Are Young,” Alphaville’s “Forever Young” and Kenny Loggins ’“Footloose,” it was easy to tell that regardless of the year a song was written, the wild and carefree spirit of youth remains the same. As our November proverb indicates, this spirit transcends cultures as well. This month’s proverb stresses the importance of enjoying life during your younger years, specifically when you are a student. You need to study and play in order to find balance in your life. But “tuổi trẻ” doesn’t just refer to your age. It also represents the years society deems are the most beautiful days of our lives. In your budding adolescent years, among health, time and money, the only thing you lack is money. You have your health and all the time in the world to spend doing whatever you love, though this truth may elude you. Many studies support the belief that the high school years are critical in forming a lasting identity. A 2001 study by Bonnie L. Barber, Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Margaret R. Stone found that high school activities predicted later substance abuse and educational and occupation outcomes. Sports participation in particular predicted positive educational and occupational outcomes and lower levels of social isolation. It is no coincidence that there are events such as high school reunions or nostalgic films recalling your teenage years. These years may be the most important time of our lives.

There is something undeniably captivating about youth, with all its rashness and irresponsibility. Genres like “coming of age” and topics such as “fountain of (eternal) youth” are covered incessantly in literature and pop culture. At the fledging age of 14, your later days are being decided for you. If you’re lucky, your only concern is to do well in school. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said that “youth is wasted on the young” and many older generations seem to agree. Spend your years well and prove them wrong.