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Keeping homicidal creatures at bay

Nicole Loschke

Being involved in many organizations, many extracurricular activities, while maintaining a high grade-point average is not easy. In fact, the stress level of a student that falls under this category resembles the stress level of a single mother who just found out that four out of her five children’s favorite activity involves tying the fifth, youngest, child up with bailing twine while attempting to feed him/her their homemade concoction involving avocados, cranberries, milk, and the dog’s three-day-old soft dog food.This stress is eventually overcome by the success of accomplishing all these things well. Then titles are earned, peers label you as “smart,” teachers label you as such a “fine young person,” and for a few days the compliments you receive create blissful surroundings, and life as you know it is good. But just for a few days; then the stress again rises and the cycle continues. With the constant roller coaster of stress levels, it’s good to know that at least one thing remains consistent: the fact that the “smart” label prevails. Because work gets accomplished, because stress derives so often from tasks at hand, the label still stands. Yes, all the efforts may pay off in the end; however, now the dominant thought originates from the possibility that maybe the truly smart people are those who never stressed about these things in the first place.Observing different peers and taking note of how their thoughts are more focused on overcoming the lunch line than overcoming the next hour’s biology test, which has been the demise of this “smart” person for more than a month, definitely doesn’t add to the confidence that what your agenda consists of is worth it.Maybe not stressing about keeping others’ expectations high is the answer to the problems. The tables have turned, and now the one deemed smart is envying the ones who did the deeming. Now the smart are discovering that the “smart” quality probably just derived from the stress characteristic.Imagine going from being one who truly believes that if three complete hours of study are not completed every evening for five days before the next big biology test, the extinct creatures that you are studying, whose characteristics entail wings definitely three times the length of your whole body, venomous razor-sharp teeth, two claws easily long enough to be shoved down your throat and come out your other end, and a nice inviting smile, will track you down and your family and use all of these characteristics to their benefit (if you know what I mean).Imagine falling under this category, then transforming into one who is constantly in a state of concentration about the best color of Skittle, or the easiest way to convince others that your old second-grade teacher who claims to be retired isn’t really; instead she is just posing as an FBI agent while giving her cocaine-dealing buddies the inside scoop on how to work the system.The stress level depletion in this flip-flop of attitudes would be greater than the decrease of happiness during the Great Depression. Could it be that the one who has always been admired is now admiring the ones who were doing the admiring first? Could it be that the priorities of this priority-driven student have been “de-prioritized” and the main goal is just to not develop ulcers at the age of 17?Could it be that the true happiness doesn’t lie in accomplishing as much as possible in the least possible time, but instead to do as many things as possible without discoloring your dark brown hair to light gray? Could it be that this student is ready to learn how to be content with things that don’t require the death of her family?A senior at Grand Valley High School in Parachute, Nicole Loschke writes a column that will appear in the Post Independent once every month.


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