Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

“Why can’t you hang out tonight?”

“Every time I ask you to hang out, you’re always ‘busy’.”

“Don’t you ever time to hang out with friends?”

“Are we even friends?”

Unfortunately, I’m notorious for being one of those people who are “too busy to be friends” with someone.

Many high-achieving high school students who participate in several extracurriculars (and probably hold leadership positions in them, thus leading to an even greater time commitment), maintain high academic standards, work a job, have college applications, and a million other to-do list items would probably agree that it’s enough to try to shuffle through daily life and accomplish what needs to be done–let alone hang out with friends!

Perhaps that common saying “Grades, work, or social life… pick two” is correct. I will confess that social life is last on my list. I certainly have weeks and even months where I literally spend every single Friday and Saturday night alone working on things that need to be done rather than hanging out with friends. I have weekends spent performing symphony concerts instead of movie theaters. I have nights spent staring at a computer screen working on newspaper instead of staring at a screen catching up on the latest TV show.

I certainly don’t regret it. But for me, the reason I’m happy is because I have found a balance.

I make time to be social. I “treat myself” by going out with friends, yet I know when I’m too busy to go to a party. It’s important to relax; when you have a weekend where you know you’ll have a few hours to spare, take the initiative to plan something with your friends.

It’s also key to be a part of extracurriculars that allow you to be with your friends or attend social events (that way it’s killing two birds with one stone!). For me, I’ve been a part of dance team, so that sometimes gives me some time to hang out with friends.

Another way to “be social” with your friends, especially those who complain about never hanging out with you, is to again kill two birds with one stone by offering to study with them. That way you can get your homework done (maybe) and give them some quality time as well. They’ll probably appreciate the help as well.

But there will still be friends who just don’t get it. Not everyone understands the overachiever lifestyle; it’s a complicated one. There will still be friends who you constantly feel guilty for responding “I can’t” to every time they ask to hang out. There will still be friends who spend hours upon hours watching Netflix and going to every party and still having time to be “bored.” And there will still be “friends” who no longer want to be your friend if you can’t be social. That’s when it’s important to choose your friends wisely–maybe pick other friends who live the same hectic lifestyle as you and understand your priorities.

Certainly if you regret your lifestyle choice in any way, it’s time to take a step back and reconsider your priorities. Some people naturally need to be much more social; some people need that social event every weekend night. While I don’t regret spending a lot of time working on what needs to be done, some people certainly might. And if you do, change it.

When it comes down to it, just remember that if you’re truly accomplishing things and spending your time wisely while staying happy, you probably won’t regret your minimal social life in the future. But if you have no social life at all and never have fun–you’ll regret it more. So keep going full-force at life, but be sure to take a step back every once in a while and make some high school memories.

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the author

Annie Schugart is a high school senior from Kansas City, but she will be heading to the East Coast next year to attend Harvard. Annie is editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, plays flute and was a part of the U.S. Army All-American Band, is the president of the National Teen Council, loves to dance, and is an avid tie-dye enthusiast. She hopes to run for president in 2032, and she hopes someday you'll join her and the world will be as one. ☮

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