Experiences with Priorities
During the fall semester of my junior year, I was tragically swamped: water polo, school work, standardized testing, club commitments. However, prior to starting school, I had selected a motto which I hoped to follow the rest of the year: "Work hard, play harder." In effect, I was vowing to spend time with friends and family and to attend as many social events as possible, yet to maintain high academic standards.
I glided along for a few weeks, but as water polo tournaments and parties did not cease, I found that I was indeed playing hard. Certainly somewhat harder than I worked, although I still devoted several hours a night, and more on weekends, toward homework and studying. Unfortunately, instant messaging and online networking were far too enticing.
At midterm, when my progress report showed signs of moderate decline, my parents erupted in rage. They conveyed, rather emphatically, how disappointed they were that I had not focused first on schoolwork, threatening the confiscation of various electronic devices as well as cutting short my list of social commitments. I returned their harangue with bitter retorts: my grades were not nearly as terrible as they had painted them; friends were extremely important to me; water polo was both fun and a good form of social and physical development. Rather than contemplate their words, I threw on a guise of denial and self-righteousness — the usual outburst of teenage indignation. This did not ameliorate their rage.
However, after a week of no cell phone, camera, or mp3, and endless complaints to friends, I sat down to reflect. True, my grades were not bad, but I was clearly not reaching my fullest potential. I realized that my parents had been investing in my future for me (I attend a private school), and my lowering test scores represented a plummet in share values. I had to admit that they had my best interests in mind, and once I expressed that I understood this, they were far more willing to help work things out.