There’s no doubt that with the numerous amounts of projects here at DVC, the bags under our eyes have almost become permanent from several all-nighters we pull to get that good score. We drag ourselves from class to class and take notes on the information we won’t remember by the time we get home. We stop and we observe the routine that we play day by day and we ask ourselves: what’s the point?
All of a sudden, your friend whispers to you a corny joke during class and you try to hold in the giggle. When you’re walking home and you pass a toddler shaking their tiny little hands to say “hi” to you, you look down and smile. When you check Google Classroom, you feel relieved to realize that you can take a quick nap because the teachers went easy on the homework that day.
We’re so caught up on what needs to be done that these simple encounters brighten our day. But we can’t just rely on these simple encounters, it’s not enough. It’s also our job to hit the pause button and focus on what’s more important: finding happiness.
Prioritizing our Happiness
We constantly brush our happiness aside over “prioritizing” school because we assume that there will be a time in the future to relax and be happy. But that time in the future may be further away than we thought. High school students like us balance out sports, clubs and honors classes just to prepare for college and the rest of our lives. College students may take a part-time job or even an internship while also keeping up with their classes and studying for exams. People out of college spend time looking for a hopefully full-time job that will help them pay off their monthly bills. We live in this constant cycle where our main focus is to get by and succeed so that we have a bright future.
Happiness in our life should be a normal emotion, but it can be hard to prioritize at times. It also doesn’t help that life has its own agenda, from unexpected events to devastating experiences. Often, we push away time for relaxation and study for another test or start the assignment that’s due in a couple of days. Walking into class late, half asleep, bags under our eyes as we yawn, it’s sadly clear that we need to find a balance between academics and taking care of ourselves.
Thankfully it’s possible to devote a specific time to for ourselves, all we need to do if find something that helps us smile and brighten our day. Small amounts of happiness in our lives help us take our minds off of the problems and things we try to juggle. We don’t want to look back at our high school years and remember how drained and sleepy we felt. Instead, we can look back at the moments that inspired happiness.
Wanting to Give Up
While prioritizing our school work, we still tend to feel overwhelmed and start to ask ourselves if an all-nighter is really worth it? We are bombarded with tons of school work and projects we don’t even know where to start. We have club meetings and sports practices to also worry about. When deadlines are approaching, we get all these emotions and don’t know how to handle them which turns into an “I give up.”
When we are given a fair amount of projects and tests back to back, it’s very stressful for us teenagers to manage. Our stress levels increase and our work ethic decreases. We don’t even try, we turn assignments in just to turn them in and hope for the best or for a resubmission. We are exhausted from only getting a couple of hours of sleep or waking up early to make it to that honors meeting on time to prove to ourselves that we are doing the right thing for our future.
Finding Something That Makes Us Happy
It’s almost certain that there are times we lack the desire or even option to look for our own happiness. It could take a while to find something every day that makes us happy but we don’t have to go out of our way to look for them, we just need to notice what makes us crack a smile..Whether it’s your dog wagging its tail waiting for you to get home or the friends that are willing to talk and listen while you tell them about your troubles, or biting into a delicious red velvet cupcake after you’ve completed some work. The fact that these outlets are there for us is what motivates us to keep working.
Eventually, the terrible days will show up because those are inevitable. Life can and will throw our happiness away in a blink of an eye. But we just need to find more outlets to go back to when we need to be happy. And these can be more lasting outlets such as reading a good book, sitting on the beach listening to the waves, or even physical activity.
Focus on the little things that help make your day. Go to school and crack jokes with your friends, take your dog out for a walk and smile at the person next to you because you never know if that could help brighten their day.