Stretch

Parafilm is an amazing thing.

For those of you who aren’t in the wonderful class of AP Chemistry, and yes, I mean that wholeheartedly, Parafilm (c) is this wonderful little film somewhat like industrial saran wrap. You get this ittsy bittsy tiny square of it from this huge roll sitting on the lab bench, and grab your 750 mL of deadly base, and just…

stretch…

and s t r e t c h….

and s  t  r  e  t  c  h . . . . . . . .

until the little bitty piece covers the entire lid. As you can tell, this is a pretty darn useful thing in case if you want to seal, oh I don’t know, some kind of skin irritant from vaporizing and getting into the room where you spend 240 minutes per week in.

However, Parafilm does still have its downsides. As Mel can probably tell you, this little thing, while really strong if handled correctly, can break. or tear. or snap. or do some combination of all of the above, wasting yet another little bitty piece of it because somebody was too patient in stretching the film :P

You know, sometimes I think that I’m a piece of Parafilm too.

School is an awesome place, especially high school, because it’s like a huge laboratory. You can mess around, find what interests you, and figure out just where your place is, or isn’t, in the world without having huge consequences. Mess up really hard? Don’t worry, you still have your parents around to take care of those chemical spills. Can’t figure out how to do something? You have a ton of peers to ask and pester and do with.

See, the weird part comes when you start to get a little bit too ambitious.

Rather than thoroughly investing in every single little thing you do, you start to get distracted. Ohh, this looks interesting! I wonder if I can help out with that? Oh, I’m god at this, I should definitely pursue it more. Maybe I can add this activity onto here also…?

Congratulations! In about 3 days of poking around, you get yourself signed up for a baker’s dozen of clubs and activities!

The point is, I’m a wee bit overstretched right now, and I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to affect me. The one good thing is that I legitimately love every single activity that I signed up for. Well, maybe not Chinese, but that’s a different story. But everything else, from the BS Beautiful Songs that I play in BYSO, to the awesome planning we do for SNHS. Some of the groups I love because of the ability to explore all of these great and crazy ideas that I would never get around to, and others I love because of the people in them, and the friendships and the getting to know of so many more.

The problem arises, from a point of balance.

There are only 24 hours a day, and if you’re an IB student, about 19 of those hours are usable. (If you are a hardcore IB student, then you have access to all 24 hours but must become a living zombie). Of those 19 hours, at least 10 are spent in school and about 6 hours are used for homework. That time arrangement gives you a tiny tiny little bit of time to actually do things, or to develope and hone your skills.

When you’re in 104791405 groups, you don’t get to spend so much time in each group.

The clearest indication of this failure to juggle is my blatant inability to remember names. I mean, I can spend a week with you at camp, get to know you and become great friends, but half a year later and I’ve completely and utterly forgotten where I’ve last seen you. I can sit in front of you in calc for a full semester and still need to struggle to call you out. I can sit with you and talk about our lives for half an hour before I realize that I have no clue what your name is.

What a joke!

The thing that worries me more is that because there are so many things that I am juggling, I’ve become a jack of all trades, and master of none.

I’m falling behind more and more on basic schooling; geting behind on research and preperation, and barely scrounging together before a tournament. I cram like mad for tests, engage in questionable sleeping patterns, and otherwise just really have started slacking. Really. What has happened.

What happened to that kid who was so laser focused on every little detail? Who wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfection? Whose work and skills could always be called on, not only on the interesting aspects but also for the mundane, countable for an interesting idea every time?

These activities seem like those silly bowling pins clowns would juggle. You know, at the quintessential carnival, those guys with wacky multicolored hair and oversized shoes, just throwing and catching and throwing those bowling pins like they’re a feather there ain’t a problem in the world. Only now those bowling pins are on fire. And have spikes. And there are 30 instead of 5. And he’s had to juggle them for 4 hours straight without letting them fall. And everyone’s already become bored and are moving on, to his dismay.

Yeah, it’s a wee bit overwhelming.

It’s a little bit like the Traveler’s Dilemma though.

Seeing the world really is a great thing. To be able to really explore and taste the different cultures of this magnificent Earth, what a treat! The dilemma arises when you’ve been around to a couple of places, and want to find a good city with all the things that you loved in the rest of your travels. But as you travel more and more, it becomes harder and harder to find that perfect city, right? And the only solution to that is to keep on traveling and to keep discovering those little pockets of joy, while never being able to satisfy that thirst for a perfect place.

Or the other side of the dilemma, where you start to meet new people. First, in a couple of cities, then you start having connections across the globe. But the problem is that as you travel, the less time you can spend in each part, so you just gradually drift away farther and farther from those great friends, and then new friends come along but you’re still distracted, but when you try to return you find that they’ve already moved on and I’m rambling again aren’t I.

I should really stop that.

Still, as I look back at my life, especially in view of the recent tragedy at Skyline, I guess I’ll survive. No amount of confusion or depression will be able to drive me to that point, as long as I know that there are still people here who care.

Here’s to a better, deeper last week!

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