A Curious Thanks to Thanksgiving

Will Nuelle

Editorials Editor

At this point I’m burnt out. It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving break, and I’ve never been more tired in my life. I’ve been stuck in the never-ending cycle of academics, athletics, and extra-curriculars, each weekend gaining a bit of rest, but then losing a little bit more the week after; needless to say, the aggregate is not in my favor. It’s vicious. Granted, I have a heavy class load, but I know what I’m feeling isn’t an isolated one at Latin. Students all over the school complain about being “tired” or “done with school,” so intellectually exhausted that it makes it hard to feel passionate about what we’re doing.

I was recently taking an ACT practice test, and was given a passage about the relationship between “leisure time” and “economic productivity.” The main idea of the passage was that people, especially Americans, were forgoing their own time for relaxation in favor of making more money. On a different scale, that idea holds true at Latin. We forgo our own leisure time in favor of activities that make us more “successful” in High School (success here being defined as looking more attractive in the college admissions process). However, the standard for getting into college and being “successful” is continuously being redefined by students around the country who have less and less time to relax and more and more ways to boost their resumes. It’s a sad truth, but it seems that leisure time and the common definition of success in high school are slowly becoming mutually exclusive. It’s no one’s fault either; competition is getting better and better and we’re doing as much as we can to keep in the game and there’s no reversing the trend. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m part of this system, too. On some level, we all are – of course, some more than others. Some might argue that they aren’t getting tired of what they’re doing because they love everything they’re doing. To that I say: I don’t doubt it, but we all long for some time to decompress, some time to see friends, some time to have no obligations. It makes me question what I do all of this for. I really do love learning, but like all things, learning is only enjoyable until it becomes oppressive.

How do we fix this, then? Well, we don’t. It’s not really easy to change an entire system. I would say stop caring about common definitions of success, but that’s a bit idealistic; to tell yourself that you don’t care where you go to college or how much money you make and that you only care that you’re happy is an easy thing in theory, but it’s hard to act upon. This is why I love Thanksgiving, and all breaks. So, thank you, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and Spring Break, and especially you, Jewish Holidays, oh and I won’t forget you, Presidents’ Day and MLK. You guys let me work to exhaustion because I know I have some relaxation to look forward to. Breaks allow us to do all that we please by giving us a little time for recuperation. I think the best way to handle breaks is to let them be just that: breaks. So, take some time off, do no work, sleep-in, read for fun, watch a few movies, see your friends, hang out with your parents, walk your dog!, because you earned it.