Staffer learns to balance time, friendships

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Staffer learns to balance time, friendships

Kaitlyn Tacdol

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   Challenging classes, extracurriculars, first jobs, extreme levels of stress and classes with people you’ve never talked to in your life. These are all elements of high school. Most people, including myself, find peace of mind at lunch – the only school setting loud enough to mask the sounds of you and your closest friends’ unfiltered conversations.

    But what if your schedule is so horrible you don’t have lunch with your most trusted confidants? What if you don’t have a single class with any of them? And what if you don’t even go to the same school or start growing apart?

    I’ve been trying to answer these questions since my freshman year.  

    Every year before school starts, I make personal goals that I try to stick with all year. For the past three years, my main goal has been to be more social and make more friends. Since I am the definition of an introvert, I usually don’t follow through with it, but this year being more social has actually worked out.

    I never had a single class with any of my closest friends, especially since half of them go to another high school. Because of this, I barely talked in any of my freshman-year classes. I absolutely hated going to them, and only made one or two new friends.

    When sophomore year came around, I was ready to branch out. I began talking in all of my classes, and I made sure my own personal problems and insecurities about being too awkward or too forward didn’t affect how I interacted with others. This resulted in me having a small group of friends in every class. Around this time, I began my first job, so I had friends I only saw at work. All of this was new and challenging for me to handle, but I managed to create amazing connections.

    That created another problem for me. How should I distribute my time between school, work, downtime and friends? From my mini social experiment, I came to realize that I genuinely had to make time for the people I wanted in my life. I also had to be flexible with my time and energy because each of my friend groups was different from the others.

    To stay in touch with my friends, I created different systems for each group. For example, I made it a priority to see my friends who go to another school at least once a month with set plans. I attended ACL with my work friends, and we also coordinated our times off to hang out during the day. My school friends and I spent time talking at lunch, studying for tests or going to school events together. And I used Snapchat daily to check up on friends I didn’t see and discuss the next moves in group chats.

    What I learned from all of that is that time is in short supply. There’s never going to be enough time to get everything done. However, for the right people, you make time. You do what you have to do to keep in touch. You stretch the small amount of time you have into even more time, and you make big memories.

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