“I can’t make it tonight, I have to study. I’ll come some other time, there’s a project due tomorrow.” How many times have you said these sentences or something like them? Whether it be to family, friends, a significant other, or just yourself, we’ve all been there. The sad thing is that as high school goes on, I find myself saying these sentences more and more and have been noticing them more in my friends’ speech as well. Studying for next week’s tests have taken the place of hanging out on Fridays after school. Finishing a French report is suddenly more crucial than seeing a movie with a friend. When did this change happen? And more importantly, how is it negatively impacting us?
We all have to make decisions in life, that much we know for sure. As we grow older, the types of decisions seem to shift from ones that are fun and make us happy to others that we make simply because they are necessary. Yes, I would rather spend some time with my friends and make memories, but if I do I won’t have time to study for math, and if I have to make up that studying time later that means my project won’t get done…the wheel spins on and on. Spending time doing things other than homework leads to time spent making up for it, which leads to a time crunch and increased stress levels. I’m not the only student that finds themselves moving through the days, completing task after task but not finding much joy in any of it. As the years increase, so does the work load, and with that decreases the amount of time we have to do what makes us happy. We tend to get so caught up in what we have to do that sometimes we forget what we want to do. A balance between the two is important, but often hard to find.
Hanging out with friends makes you happier. We don’t exactly need studies to show that. It’s the same feeling that going to the beach makes you feel more relaxed or watching a movie gets your mind off of things for a few hours. Work, studying, procrastination, and stress all contribute to the lessening of these activities. You’ll meet up with your friends next week, sure, because you’ll be open then, but maybe they won’t be. It’s a cycle that repeats itself, only allowing for the minimum number of get togethers between large groups of friends. These get togethers are immensely important to our overall moral and happiness. Getting coffee with a buddy, watching a movie or a television show, talking with family, playing with your pets, all of these make us happier and yet sometimes take a backseat to sitting in our rooms drumming a pencil on top of scribbled notes. This is a problem that needs fixing, and it’s up to all of us to do so.
Now, I’m not saying to drop all of your school stuff to be with your friends for every second you have open. Your schooling is still immensely important to your future, but then again, so is your mental health. All I’m saying is to leave time, maybe once a week, to get together and just hang out. It doesn’t even have to be with friends. Just leave some time for yourself. Sleep, talk to family, watch a movie, get boba, do whatever little things that make you happy, and forget about school for a few hours. It’s a lot to ask at first, and I have to work on taking my own advice, but it will help you. No one can run on school fumes all month long. Set a date to do something fun and spend the rest of the week looking forward to that date.
has been a journalist writing for the Charger for over two years. She is now a senior at Agoura High School and is editor-in-chief of the newspaper. In future years she will become the editor of Time Magazine after a career as a decorated journalist.