by Eliza Powell
Every day teenagers around the world are forced to work, learn, and socialize with others in an oppressive environment. School is a place of growth, but let’s be real… it can be awfully boring sometimes. To cope with this overwhelming sense of monotony, 99% of teens go straight to their iPhone, Android, or classic flip phone after school to relax and go to their happy place.
When a high school student arrives at home from school the last thing they want to do is homework (transferring the boredom into your home), and we have become masters at delaying the inevitable. Eating food, talking to mom, and the cell phone are all common battle strategies. Spending an hour on a device may seem like the best way to give your brain a break from thought, but in reality it’s just a big waste of time and brain cells. No one welcomes that useless feeling after allowing YouTube or Instagram to consume an hour or two of their lives. Taking that time to do something you love can allow you to unwind, destress, and improve yourself in a productive and fun way.
It’s interesting that replacing phone use with activity actually makes you feel more constructive. If you spend the exact same time frame painting a picture or going on a walk verses surfing instagram, you will feel more accomplished in retrospect. Managing your time to allow for work allows us feel better about ourselves. It’s ironic how going for a run can make you feel more efficient than completing all homework, eating 10 cookies, and liking all your friend’s tweets combined. But the essential thing to remember here is to do something you love to do.
I love to mountain bike and rock climb. Every day I am active after school I immediately feel a sense of accomplishment. It allows me to forget any struggles and challenges I went through during school, and throughout the rest of the day I feel good about myself. However, I am a terrible artist and whenever I attempt to paint it stresses me out beyond belief. If I were to spend ten minutes after school trying to draw a pine tree I would simply get frustrated and default back to the phone. I am happy when I do what I love, and that simply results in allowing me to unwind.
You may ask, “How is going mountain biking going to help you relax?” It doesn’t. The best way to relieve yourself from the bonds of the monotonous people and boring mindsets of school is to do something unique that you love to do. By deflecting to the phone you are continuing to obsess over the monotonous people and indulge boring mindsets of life throughout the rest of your day.
All successful people spend their free time doing what they love to do, and they end up excelling at it. Bailey Hatcher spends every free moment she has painting, and as a result she is one of the most amazing artists in the school; Michael Ellefson has an awe inspiring voice, and that voice is always singing; Sidney Shock is one of the fastest junior girls, and running is her life. Westlakers have so much talent that is being wasted away through overusing their phones, and so much potential in all aspects of their life. Think of all that could be accomplished if every student replaced one hour of phone time with productivity. I’m not saying that social media is bad, but it may not be the best to claim virtual reality as your happy place. My happy place is a safe environment where I can work hard to clear my mind of all negativity (school). Every person’s happy place is different and unique. Finding yours can allow you to feel better about yourselves and be more productive in your “chill time.”