It’s the little things

Kids are forced to mature way too young


School has been preparing me for the next step of my life since the first day of kindergarten. I am constantly asked to think about what comes next.
When talking to teachers, relatives and even friends the topic of the future always seems to emerge. From the first day of school to now being a junior, I’m always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
And while I appreciate everyone trying to prepare me for what’s next, sometimes it’s too much. My peers and I are forced to think about and plan our future so much that we don’t have time to enjoy the little things in life that are happening in the moment.
Since elementary school, it has been drilled into my brain that I have to get good grades so that I can get into college and then have a good job.
In order to do this, I am constantly working. I finish one task and then immediately move on to the next. I don’t feel like I have time to stop and do the things I actually enjoy doing, like spending time with friends and family or just simply sitting down and watching a movie.
Don’t get me wrong, being prepared for the future is essential. I appreciate everyone who pushes me to be my best and wants me to be successful. I just wish that it didn’t come with an unbearable amount of work to do.
Learning to grow up is important. But students are not learning to grow up on their own time. Instead, they are forced to grow up as soon as they enter the school building for the first time.
There is no more freedom for students to do whatever they want. We are on a strict schedule that we will follow for pretty much the rest of their lives. We get up, go to school, work, go home and then do more work every day.
In order to be successful, all of that work has to be done. That may mean that some days students are stuck inside and are unable to do what they really want.
As students get older, this becomes even more prevalent. The workload continues to increase and the ability to do what they actually enjoy decreases. The nearer the future gets, students receive more and more pressure to grow up.
When I reflect on my life so far, most of my memories are from school. It’s mainly of me stressing over a due date or being frustrated that I can’t quite grasp a new concept.
I find it disheartening that I can tell someone a topic I’ve learned in each year of school but I’m unable to tell them a memory I have outside of school for each year.
I do have great memories from being in school too, but that’s almost all they are, school memories. I can’t think of a time when I was able to go out on a school night and could do whatever I wanted. Not because my parents wouldn’t have let me, but because I was pinned down by school work.
I think of the pressure of accepting and looking towards the future as tunnel vision. I’m so trained to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel that maybe I don’t glance to the side and see the beautiful art displayed on the walls.
Only in this case, the future is the light at the end, and all the memories I never got to make are the art on the walls.
While I do appreciate school preparing me for my future, I believe I should be able to enjoy being a kid while still thinking ahead. I don’t want to look back when I’m older and realize that all I have are memories of studying.
In fact, more often than not, I am forced to skip activities and gatherings because I don’t have all of my work done. I have yet to figure out how I’m supposed to make memories to look back on if I’m stuck having to focus on growing up and preparing for the future.