Friends, prom, football games, homecoming week and many other things all contribute to what is known as The High School Experience. "Get Involved" -- we hear it all the time and for some this contributes to a memorable time at this period of life.
However, during high school reality is that the social aspects aren't everything that is going on in our lives. We also have seemingly endless amounts of homework, tests, jobs and other responsibilities. Finding balance is something that can be hard to do.
So where do you find the balance? If you don't go to every single sporting event in your high school career or every single dance is it really going to matter? With so much to do in so little time, sacrifices are a must in order to have a happy and fulfilling life.
School should definitely be a priority because it is something that will impact what you can and cannot do with the rest of your life. However, trying to juggle AP classes, maintaining a 4.0, and still enjoying yourself can be difficult. Sure, you should definitely try your hardest at school but not sleeping and making yourself sick because you're so stressed out is not the way to go. Sometimes you need to learn that it's OK to get an A- and if not every single one of your classes is AP, there is still hope for you. If you get a bad grade on a test, do better on the next. Keep moving forward because that's all you can do.
You would think that school would be the main component of a high school experience but ultimately you probably won't remember that hard test you're stressing over but you will remember prom and the homecoming game. You can spend every moment of every day being involved in school activities and sure, you would have a memorable high school experience, but at the end of the day you wouldn't have accomplished all the other things that are necessary to be successful.
Sometimes it's easy to feel like the world is going to end when you don't get asked to the dance. Or often you feel as if you're the only one working and not going to the basketball game. In all actuality I don't know if it will matter in 10 years if I didn't go to the dance or that I didn't make it to all the basketball games; if I could fast forward and find out, I would let you know.
I do know that it's easy to get caught up in the moment and worry about everything that's going on now. Yet sometimes you need to take a step back and look at the big picture. You need to realize that there is so much more to life than just high school dances and sporting events and although it may seem like a big deal now, I'd like to think that in 10 years there will be more important things.
Having a job is important to many teens because, let's face it, who does not want to have money? But working also isn't everything. Sometimes it's OK to take a day off and do something for yourself. It's OK to miss out on other things for work too though.
At the end of the day, despite many others' opinions, there's nothing wrong with having a job. As long as work does not become your everything and you allow yourself to make memories, not just money, it's all right to have a job -- once again, it goes back to finding that balance.
Juggling all of this on top of friends, family and time for yourself are also a balance you have to find. Friends and family is where it gets tricky because there is no definite answer; everyone's relationship with their friends and family is different and this is something that you should make a priority. If you're always working and never get to do anything for enjoyment, then you won't be happy, and if you are unhappy, then you are not truly fulfilling your life. However, if you are happy working all the time then you should do what makes you happy; just try and make time for others as well. Those who truly care about you will understand when life gets busy.
The High School Experience -- these four words are what you make of them. For some, this means being involved in every single activity at school but for others the experience means missing out on some of the social activities and being more involved in other aspects of life. The most important thing is to find what's important to you; although this will take trial and error, it will ultimately lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.
So remember to take a step back and think about what it is that really matters to you. Remember that you cannot do it all -- and that's OK.
Caitlynn Kindall is a junior at Ogden High School. She enjoys softball and running, and can often be found clipping coupons. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.