Running a race with time

The more we try to control our schedules, the more control we lose


Annika Pepper

People tend to see daily life as running a race with time. Instead of increasing stress with that mindset, it would be more beneficial to regain control of our own schedules.

By Saijleen Chawla, Starr's Mill High School

There’s nothing stopping us from closing our eyes, and just breathing. That is, nothing but ourselves. It is human nature to stress ourselves out.

Though it is imperative to “gain control and embrace balance” (see Forbes Article for ways to avoid stress), high school students tend to disregard their personal health and continue to cook under the pressure of school, extra-curriculars, and potential future issues.

Studies have shown a positive correlation between heart disease and stress, yet these prospective problems didn’t faze me.

Even after reading almost every article written on The Prowler about stress, (this being another one), I disregarded it. I told myself that it will all be worth it in the future, or that it is normal, regardless of the multiple pages of pages of evidence debunking this.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I stayed up till four in the morning for three nights in a row working on a science fair research paper. When people asked me how long it took me, I lied, reluctant to admit how much it stressed me out.

Especially when I compared my “less-than-adequate” paper to people who seemed to have taken a simple hour to have completed their papers, I was deprived of that shaky pride I had managed to gain about my work, like the sleep I had lost working on it.  When I think about it now, I sacrificed those hours of sleep and mindset for something that now I don’t even remember writing.

What I do remember is the feeling of being suffocated and trapped in a situation where I feel as if I’ve lost the ability to swim when I need it the most.

I like to call this competing in the race of time, where the control we have on our life is at an all-time low and stress at an all-time high.

The responsibilities and busy schedule of high school students cause them to give up control to the demands of stressors.

Many common stressors for high school students are our assignments, teachers, and responsibilities. For me, I was doing all of this in order to receive admission for a college that in the end may or may not even accept me, potentially making all of my endeavors all for nothing.

Instead of over-saturating one’s schedule, just relax. It may be a bit hypocritical of me to say this, but I have been making time in my schedule to try things that may not be as productive, but have made me happy.

As a senior, I’ve decided to reduce the amount of stress that I may have put on myself this year, though it may seem like the wrong time to de-stress.

I can’t count the amount of disapproving looks I’ve gotten from the people around me when I make it clear that I no longer care about trying to control my schedule to the point that I lose any definition of control in my life.

Personally, I don’t understand why I got this reaction, especially from my family when they catch me painting my nails or experimenting with homemade masks. It was part of the reason I worked so hard over the years, making it never truly for myself but most definitely for other people.

If we’ve sacrificed doing the things we truly love, our relationships with our friends and family, and our quality of happiness, it may be because we believe that we can get it all back after high school. The truth is, we’ve already lost it.

As we’ve overwhelmed ourselves with all of these stressors for which we don’t have time, we haven’t left time to question if all of this was worth it in the end.

This story was originally published on The Prowler on November 29, 2018.