The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Where’d All the Time Go?

The school year is ending–but where did all the time go?

The school year, with its fair share of hardships and obstacles, is almost up. This realization has left me feeling perplexed and mildly anxious: where’d all the time go?

So many things have happened, and yet, I’ve done so little. I have a laundry list of tasks that I have yet to complete and goals and interests I still need to explore. I simply haven’t been able to keep up, caught up in the web of activities, assignments, and day-to-day tasks. Time, though continuous and indefinite in quantity, seems to be slipping away. As the present transitions to the past more quickly each day, we are allowing ourselves to get too caught up in the categorization of time. In the end, these divisions of time will all make up one thing: our life.

I recall spending the majority of my time on academics; like many other students, I have prioritized my studies above nearly all else. After all, education is the key to attending a good college, where we can obtain more education. Stressing education is important, especially if receiving higher education is one of your goals; yet in the moment, when classes pile more and more work into our schedules, we can become so immersed in it that it drowns out any other aspect of life.

All this effort is made in hopes of securing a comfortable future. But when and what is the future? Is that the future when we have our dream profession? Is it when we meet our life partner and settle down? Why do we wait for the future to be happy? Many people divide time into the past, present, and future, and they use these distinctions to describe their lives. 

But I have realized that there is no division. These “categories” of time are all one and the same, and we shouldn’t be so fixated on what is the past, present and future. The choices you make in the present will, ultimately, become the past. In the blink of an eye, the future that you dream about will quickly become your reality. Why do we make these distinctions between time? We label the passing of time to justify the hardships we go through in the moment, promising a paradise in the future. Without this, there is no hope, no point of pushing through the privation and pain that our present has bestowed upon us.

But meeting obstacles and overcoming difficulties are normal in the process of living. Pain, frustration, and failure are all necessary for the growth of an individual. It is when you become overwhelmed with these feelings that the necessary pains of life become a burden. 

Hyper-focusing on class subjects has caused me to toil away at my desk, barely registering the months as they come and go. Just like my peers, I am left burnt out and perpetually anxious about the next assignment or assessment coming up. When we should be exploring our interests and experiencing new things, we are held back by pages of restless reading and review. There is no room for fond memories left in our minds: they are already too packed with memorized formulas and hazy vocabulary words. 

When the present is negatively affected by your plans for the future, it is time for some reflection. Many students are left feeling hollow and unfulfilled by their academics, all in the name of “their future.” Time feels like it’s slipping through our fingers, like there isn’t any left for the things we are truly passionate about. We are not alive in the present, nor are we living in the future we dreamed of. Stuck in between, we are always planning for our next step yet never actually taking it. We seem to be “waiting” for our happiness, but it only prolongs our discontent. Are these plans for the future worth neglecting the present?

We all want our future to hold success and happiness, but we should also wish the same for ourselves at this very moment. While overcoming obstacles is a part of progressing toward our goals, our lives should not be about reaching the end product. Allowing ourselves to indulge in silly hobbies and interests can be the difference between fulfilling memories and a resented past. While it might seem impossible to fit fun into our busy schedules, actively incorporating leisurely activities is the key to work-life balance. Whether that be baking once a week, allowing yourself to hang out with friends twice a month, or celebrating small victories, adding fun times into the present will ultimately lead to a happier and more satisfying life. The future and present are the same; incorporating pleasure into the present will incorporate pleasure into the future.

For my entire high school career, I have been seeking the answer to the question, “Where’d all the time go?” Now, I have realized that it hasn’t gone anywhere. Time does not come and go; it simply exists. I have allowed myself to fixate on my future and the steps I need to take to reach that aspiration. Dreams don’t come true if you don’t start living them. So do something that makes you happy. Rather than chasing an idyllic future, pave a path of happiness and fulfillment that will last a lifetime.


Photo courtesy of UNSPLASH.COM

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