oh the places you must go

“I overslept”

“I’m busy then”

“I can’t take another thing on my schedule!”

Teenagers today are overwhelmed.  As an 18-year old girl, WE ARE OVERWHELMED.  In an average week, I attend six classes (four at college), keep straight As, work 20 hours, have SGA, committees, try to sleep, and keep a social life.  I have bills to pay and places to be.  Truthfully, I’m 18, I’m an adult, so this is normal.  However, I remember not having time for sleep at 16 (still normal).  But, I also remember it at 15.  And 14.  I remember taking naps in-between classes at 13 just to catch a break.  I remember hyperventilating.  At twelve.  At twelve years old, I was hyperventilating because I was too busy.  Does this signal a problem to anyone else?

“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” – Proverbs 16:27

I agree, it is good to have structure.  The motivation of the potential of failing is a great motivator (Can I make a Reddit reference here? Saying that reminds me of a story on /r/NoSleep, which is totally a great read. )  Knowing that it is possible to fail a class keeps it likely that you will study.  Knowing that you need gas to go places that you want is a motivator to go to work.  Knowing that you  want to keep social connections is a wonderful motivator to keep up with friends.

Yet, being too busy is an awful thing.  It is nearly as bad as not being busy enough, if not worse.  To keep it simple, if you are too busy to do a hobby that you love, you’re too busy.  If you’ve got enough time that you have to find extra hobbies, then you aren’t busy enough.

The pressure on modern teens to be competitive and to succeed at high levels is unbelievable.  Fact of the matter is, if everyone is special and successful, than no one is.  Let those who aim to be successful be successful.  Let those who want to do bare minimum do bare minimum.

The minimum requirements just to pass highschool are enough to make competitiveness hard.  In North Carolina, you need 3 maths, 3 Englishes, and enough classes to keep you busy every semester.

If you’re busy with the bare requirements just to graduate every semester, then how can you focus on fancy-shmancy AP classes and extra-curriculars?  How can one focus on their hobby or their sport when they barely have time to do what they have to do?

Personally, I think that highschool should be optional altogether.  It would make the market so much more competitive.  The only downside to this is that the average age for a freshman is between 13 and 15, making them quite young and making life decisions difficult.  At 18, it’s hard enough to decide on a major.  At 13, I imagine it difficult to choose highschool or not.  I could go on a rant about why I think that children should start school later so that they are more equipped further down the road to make such decisions, but I don’t want to get too side-tracked.  As I always do.

Back to where I was.  Let us be kids.  How can we know what we want to do with our lives if we haven’t had the time to explore?  How can we make serious connections when we are always shushed in class?

Study after study agrees that

We

Need

Our

Down

Time

What disturbing tend is one the rise?  Depression.  Anxiety.  Eating Disorders.  Drug abuse.  Alcohol misuse.  Sleeplessness.

What, coincidentally, is also on the rise?  Busyness.

If you’re a parent, please don’t force your kid to be chocked full on their schedule.  It won’t make them look better to future employers.  What will make them look better, however, is having the time to find and explore what they really love and grow in that.

If you’re a teacher, please don’t overwhelm kids with homework.  Engage them in class.  Truly teach them.  Relate with them.  Be there for them.  Understand where they’re coming from.  If you teach at 8am, know that they may be tired and try to make the class more active.  If you teach the last class of the day, try something fun to cool everyone down after a long day.

If you’re a pre-teen, know that this is when things start to get tough.  Don’t be pressured to overwhelm yourself.  You are still growing.  You can only do so much.  Avoid the trap.

And finally, my fellow teenagers, embrace your down time.  Don’t feel the need to overwhelm yourself.  Take naps. Hang out with your friends.  Go to tutoring.  Play that silly game that you love.  Keep Snapstreaks.  Look fabulous.  You’re only young once, enjoy it.  Find what you love, and focus on that, and you will succeed in whatever it is that you were created to do.

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