Skinny dip before the pool closes

Allison Pritchard

It’s 3:46 a.m. My final English paper is due tomorrow morning, and I am starting to see spots as I stare at page six of my Word document, over-analyzing every iota, revising phrases and moving chunks of text around the screen for no apparent purpose. I bet the fourth rewrite would have worked just fine — but I was a freshman, and I was stupid.

In today’s success-driven American rat race, we are taught to anally obsess over working toward the perfect life. We are told to get good grades, hot bodies and a well-paying job. Even before we’re old enough to buy a beer, we’re encouraged to sacrifice good feelings for sleep-deprivation, studying, making money and fitting into some standard mold, all for some elusive goal of future well-being.

But isn’t the whole point of working your butt off in school, working overtime on the job, enduring pain and putting off pleasure to eventually have that relaxation time? People work and work and forget what they are working for. The work was originally meant as a means to attain those pure “good things” in life. Somewhere in there, some of us have missed the point.

Today many students overwork themselves to the brink. Learning is supposed to enhance lives. Learning shouldn’t cause someone to become ill because she stayed up until 4 a.m. studying. The point of school is not to get good grades – it’s to learn. And part of learning is done out of the classroom.

Our mentors tell us the ultimate life goal is to get that perfect job. But work is something you have to do so that you can do those other things. The “other things” are what counts — without them, life is nothing more than an endless list of tasks. What makes happy times so looked down upon compared to labor and strife? What’s so wrong about lying on the beach, spending time with people you care about, and appreciating the world around you?

As a senior, I’ve come down with the deadly virus also known as senioritis. Even though it’s the beginning of the year, the only glue I have is going out with friends and other happy things. I’ve realized there is more to it all than doing the pre-planned tasks.

I want to live my life. I’ve been in school for 17 years. I need a break. I want to learn about people, the world and just dealing with the things life throws everyone.

Too much caution will ruin life. Plenty of successful people have taken time to experience their lives when they were younger. Look at our president. No one deserves to be jaded before they are old and gray. We have our whole lives to work.

There will always be an excuse to put off the good stuff. We say, “I’ll do this when I lose weight, get that job, have a baby, get married, finish school, finish my homework.”

Before you are glued to a mortgage and a few critters, get into some trouble. Loosen up. Do something you aren’t supposed to do. Skinny-dip. Scream. Try a beer. Try a cigarette. Have at least a little bit of fun. As long as you are smart about things, now is the time.

Allison Pritchard is a senior electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].