Are You Really Alive?

Amaya Binns, Editor

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My idea of this topic came from small ideas that linked up to bigger ideas about the meaning of life. If anyone’s truly living in the moment or just wasting away because they’re too involved with school and the continuous cycle of life to truly live. I thought I was the only one who felt that way and I started to wonder why I felt stressed the older I got. I decided to test my theory and see if I could pinpoint that start of changing priorities and determine if there’s a trend that occurs when a student going from middle school to high school to make them less satisfied. Are middle schoolers and high schoolers happy with their life in this moment and why?

When you’re young everything is fun. The smallest things can make us happy. I surveyed Marshall Fundamental middle and high school students to find out if the students are happy. I was surprised to discover that 100% of middle schoolers responded with a yes to being happy. High schoolers were tied half and half. I asked a series of two questions to two students from each grade ranging from 6th through 12th grade. The first question I asked was, “Right now, today are you happy with your life?” The responses I got back were shocking. I asked eighth grader Maggie if she was happy with her life and she replied with a gigantic smile, “Yes, I just got the new book Harry Potter book!” When I asked a tenth grader Sarah she replied, “No. I got a B on my math test.” It’s crazy to believe how one miniscule thing can change your viewpoint of happiness. School should be a fun place, not a place students dread each morning. Sophomore Jasmine responded to my happiness question by explaining she had to “grow up fast and become an adult. I had to raise a kid my sister and go to school.” At times seeking solace in the school day and friends is not a weight off Jasmine’s shoulders but can seem like another added responsibility.

Ultimately we forget that there are many things that make us happy, and sadly we only notice when those things are taken away. At times we are so overwhelmed that we can forget the most important things like when senior Jacky commented, “Yes, I am happy because I’m privileged to have a loving family”. On the other hand a freshman stated, “I’m stressed a lot about school and my grades.” There seems to be a built up of stress in high schoolers vs. middle schoolers.

Proceeding forward with my theory I decided to ask students a second question, “When you think about life do you focus more on the present or the future?” The results for middle schoolers were tied and high schoolers replied they are more focused on the future. Some responses from older students were, “I want to succeed so I think more about the future.” Others explained “the future brings bigger opportunities.” For upperclassmen currently working on college applications the future feels seconds away. Talking to middle school and high school students I realized we all need to live in the moment and appreciate the little things that make us happy. For all high school students reading this article, try to take a second to breathe and remember the book, movie or moment with your friends that makes you smile. I would ask middle school students to try and enjoy each day, each class and your teachers. I absolutely promise you that your teachers want you to succeed and when a test or class seems hard, just remember you’ll be in high school one day tutoring middle school students and helping them navigate a new school and new classes.

 

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