Make Time Count

Kara Barragan, Web Editor

Time has become a burden. It takes away from the acknowledgement of what’s going on in our personal lives when they really do matter more than working for a 4.0 GPA.

I feel as if I’m running out of time as a 15 year old. Time goes by quickly, and when your main focus is on academics and extracurriculars, life could come at you at any point. Even when you least expect it. Imagine facing one of the worst events that could happen to you at the fresh start of the school year: the passing of a beloved pet.

My bright pink highlighter glided across my paper as I outlined a chapter of my AP World History textbook. For the time being, I felt content with where I was at. I was glad that I was taking initiative and not procrastinating for the millionth time.

Abruptly, the door slammed open with my mom standing, tears falling down her distressed face. I knew something was not right and I remembered she had just come back from the vet.

“Kara, she didn’t make it.”

It slowly hit me. A situation like this had never occured in my life and I didn’t know how to react. I soon found myself bawling my eyes out, feeling an inevitable hollowness in my stomach; I truly felt empty.

It was around 4:00 pm at the time. I covered multiple blankets over myself in my parents’ bed and just went off into space. Everything felt less literal than before, leaving me apathetic and immensely dispirited. I felt as if I were punched in my chest and began to uncontrollably sob and sob.

All the ‘should haves’ began to fill my head. I should have spent more time with her, loved her every waking second and acknowledged the fact that she wouldn’t be here forever.

It broke my heart to realize the fact why I can’t be sitting outside with my dogs 24/7, giving them the attention they don’t always receive. Truly, I love animals with my whole heart. Having a family business for puppies, always being there with my grandma for the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind and three loving dogs that I’ve had for quite some time. I’d never thought that I’d have to lose one so quickly.

School had taken up all my free time, and with this situation, it left me falling behind and feeling very depressed. If I had had an equal balance of both school and my personal life, occurrences like this wouldn’t have had to affect me to such a great extent as I took time to situate them.  

Missing a day of school and dealing with the loss of a loved one really impacts you more than just missing a regular day of school, concerning my academic performance.

“In the same way depression and anxiety can impact academic performance, they can also impact work performance,” as said in the John Hopkins Student Assistance Program.

I took a day off from school the next day as the level of sadness had fallen too deep. That morning, I felt as if I was bearing the weight of a dozen bricks. I couldn’t get up for 2 hours. I began to play the song, ‘When She Loved Me’, from the Disney film Toy Story 2.

“When somebody loved me, Everything was beautiful. Every hour spent together, Lives within my heart. When she loved me.”

As time went on, I was filled of pure stress and disbelief. Matters such as my dog passing away really set me off on the wrong foot for when I returned back to school. Teardrops streaming down my face, falling on my papers as I finished what was due the following day.

The school system left me frustrated with agony as they refused to understand the effect of losing a loved one. It had thrown off my whole plan of time management and left the beginning of the school year on a bad note.

“Grief can have a tremendous impact on a student’s ability to stay on track, stay focused and stay enthusiastic towards school,” a social worker at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in Indiana Erin Kimble said.

The enthusiasm was not apparent when I returned to systematic oppression. I felt as if I were experiencing derealization, I was seeping away with the ticking hours of the day. The weightless feeling that consumed me disintegrated all that I was until I felt numb.

I hope to bring more attention to those desperately trying to find their balance on an imbalanced tied rope. Take a moment and pause; set the exhausting hours of excess effort to appreciate all that is loved before it’s lost. Drop the pencil, close your textbook, and if you have a dog, go give them a hug and play fetch with them. Really, you’re not running out of time. Make time for things that really matter. For now, school will be with you wherever you go; loved ones won’t always.