The Big Slump

brick-wallThere is a certain stereotype that seems to follow everyone between the ages of 13 to 18. Lazy. Teens. According to a lot of our older peers, we are all just mindless zombies, with our eyes glued to our phone screens, disinterested in our futures and what we make of them.

In general, Macleans students tend to buck this trend – we’re somewhat overachievers. We are often juggling varying levels of schoolwork, 1-2 sports, a few clubs here and there, and performing arts and singing activities just in school alone. On top of that, we are expected to not be a complete loner and organise outings with our friends, maybe spend some time with a significant other. In order to pay for some of these outings, we apply for jobs, working on our precious weekends, while squeezing in some quality family time, extra study and on top of all that, thinking about our futures and how many kids we want. Yikes.

But this isn’t an article boohoo-ing about the life of an average Macleans student. Most people enjoy being busy and feel like they’re making real progress in their lives and the rest, just deal with it. But this article is about when all those things come to a dead end. When everything, all at once, decides to stop. And thus, The Slump begins.

At the start of every school year, we are rearing to go. We are excited to join sports teams, audition for productions and choir groups, finally ask that boy or girl out. But sometimes suddenly, things begin to fall apart. You might flunk that audition, feel real rejection for the first time. You might not make that sports team you were counting on this year. Maybe your biology teacher didn’t like you that much and that exam you were so confident in, turned out to be the worst result you’ve ever received. You’ll feel self-pity and self-hatred, your confidence drops, interest in school declines until that morning when you struggle to find a reason to even get out of bed. That’s when you know that The Slump has hit you; brutally.

From that detailed description, I think you can guess that I’ve been there. Nothing was working out in my favour. I felt bad complaining or ranting to my friends as it seemed so ‘first world problem-ish’ and deep down, they had their own troubles to worry about. So it I let it eat up my insides.

Enough with the sob story, I know. But as I freed myself from The Slump’s iron-tight grip, I learnt a few things on how to cope.

1. Patience
I really wish there was an easy way out. But patience is never easy, especially when it comes to waiting and waiting for something to pick you up out from The Slump’s grasp. Things will go incredibly slow, to start off.

2. Be a little selfish
Do what Justin told you to and Love Yourself. Pick a day. Try and get all of your schoolwork and extra-curricular work out of the way before dinner. Spend the rest of the evening pampering yourself, and no, not just having a bath. For an hour or three, binge your favorite TV Show, favourite movie, favorite Xbox/PS4 game. Create and eat something that would make a dietician faint from the calorie content. Hell, spend too long playing the basketball game on Facebook Messenger. But remember, it all comes in moderation.

3. Perspective
Turn that “I’ve just blown all my chances” into “well, this is new.” If it’s your first time experiencing The Slump, take it as just that. An experience.

4. Riding solo
I didn’t want my negative mood to affect those close to me so I began to do things by myself. Shopping, meals out, studying. Sometimes your own company is enough.

5. Focus
Focus all that leftover anger, resent, rejection and disappointment into energy towards something you truly love or have been striving to achieve. Fitness, writing, acting, singing, sports, personal health, loving others. Finetune your craft and go hard at it, to prove to yourself that you are not worthless.

It’s likely that The Slump will re-enter my life at some point, looking for revenge. But because I went through all of this, I will be prepared and so will you.

Written by: Tara Jackson. Edited by: Zachary Wong.

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