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Defeating Summer Blues: a Philosophical Analysis of the Teenage Mind

Op-ed

The cycle of feeling as if the last of your summer days are continuously repeating themselves often makes the end of summer a drag. Sure, there might be a delightful event once or twice a week, but boredom overpowers fleeting bliss. School is around the corner (quite literally for some), and the thought of working for nine months only makes August’s hours duller. As teenagers, we can all agree that the feeling of apprehension and time flying is strong. Surprisingly, the only weakness to this cycle of angst is never mentioned. The loopholes.

One of the largest loopholes in days with the same routines is the slight differences that occur between them. Often, people conserve their energy to focus on tasks that demand attention. While the labor, assignments, and schedules may be the same, the small things in life aren’t.

What was the color of your shirt five days ago? Chances are a person who can solve complex mathematical problems can not answer this simple question. These overlooked, belittled factors of our daily lives distinguish a day from the rest, yet we believe life is the movie Groundhog Day (1993). Silly humans.

Try writing down one aspect of today that caught your attention. It could be an entertaining message on a cereal box, a thumbnail of a Youtube video, or the whispering wind outdoors. You can begin to see a pattern. This shift in the perspective of daily life can sharpen your memory skills over time.

Here’s the secret to living in the present. Notice the color of the shirt or clothing garment you are wearing right now. Slowly repeat the name of the hue five times, and see if you can remember it by tomorrow and the day afterward. Eventually, the color will become ingrained in your mind till, eventually, five days pass. Congratulations! You are able to answer the previous question that the majority of the population cannot.

You do not know the color of the shirt you will wear five days from now, but you are aware of the hues you are wearing today. A peaceful mind must accept these truths since this exercise applies to a larger concept of this busy world.

Having something to train your mind with and acknowledging significant moments can make life feel new, inspiring, and most importantly, different! A fresh mindset is the best way to begin the school year sharp.

Unfortunately, the opposite can happen. People who are too detail-oriented are subject to seeing only a small portion of life’s canvas. An important part of the time’s healing process is blending the small and large aspects together to create a medium. You can use this medium to paint a life that is unique and everlasting.

It is very likely that you have spent several years focusing on earthly matters that determine your income and “future.” On your mathematics course last year, did you completely fathom the origins of the formulas and the mathematicians who developed them? No. Like other students, you desire a surface level of understanding since it is enough to aim for a grade that would support your GPA. Still, your success is never guaranteed.

Similarly, if you did study uncovered formula origins and mathematicians, the test will not cover that material and you could receive a lower grade. These two possibilities balance themselves out. The primary difference between the two scenarios is that achieving the surface-level perspective has less of a negative consequence. This is why society has been constructed to suit this thinking style.

Therefore, since the major parts of your career and education require your comprehension frequently in several areas, you will be spread thin. You will only notice major changes in the outside world through breaking news. Feelings and interests are more likely to become irrational. It becomes tiring to memorize small details when no test score, expectations, or paychecks are attached to them. However, detail-oriented perspectives have an advantage.

Let’s go back to the mathematical analogy. After an exam, students may think, “The teacher never went over this.” If you transferred the surface level outlook to review the formula origins/mathematicians, you would be able to answer a question that is based on a fact the teacher briefly mentioned. On the other hand, you would switch your detail-oriented mindset to study the main topics covered in that test. This way, you will completely understand the details of the “big picture” while possessing additional knowledge.

These logical standpoints typically have better outcomes than everyday reasoning. You will learn new skills and facts that you can use to differentiate your productivity and attention. Once bland and dreadful, your schedule now feels as if it has variety. The only difference that made the cycle of repetitive behaviors weaker was a shift of focus. After all, concentration is a key necessity to perceive any changes in the future.

So, I'll ask you again, what was the color of your shirt five days ago? I may have forgotten.

Kelly Halliburton
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Kelly Halliburton is a sophomore member of the Creative Writing Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She enjoys writing poetry, volunteering, and reading. As the founder of a community service-based club, Empowerment for the Youth, she aspires to project meaningful ideas in the community.