As the end of the school year closes in, many students within the Westminster community are now just trying to stay ahead of the monotony of each school day. For a majority, this means finding small serotonin givers throughout their day that allow them to survive the taxing job of trying to find motivation to keep up academically. These little joys have become irrevocably important, especially because of the anxiety inducing state of the current world. Each individual may have differences in the things they enjoy, however, many of these mini motivators are very similar from person to person. This is especially clear in Westminster’s academic community.
Speaking of said community, it is the friends that many have made within classes, sports, and other extracurricular activities that have become the greatest source of energy for a major amount of the student body: “The real answer for me to that is probably wordle and kahoot but also just the great friends and teachers,” says Audie Bockman, an eighth grader here at Westminster. “I’m an extrovert so I actually feel more energized being around all my friends in class.” Audrie, like many others, finds energy in their interactions with their friends. These small times of laughter and joy can give that small boost of energy that one may need, no matter how tired they may feel.
Just like Audrie, Anne Bendick, a seventh grader, also shares the same need for her friends. She expresses her love for them, especially in the interactions she has with them in athletics: “What gets me through the day is having sports at the end of the day. My friends give me motivation because they are always bubbly and happy.” Having friends who are also teammates is uniquely fulfilling for athletes going into the spring athletics season. Exercising while also having fun with friends is one of the best ways to get back that life giving energy that students may loose in the classroom. Whether it be at lunch, in the hall, or out playing a sport, loving and supportive relationships are one of the best remedies for spring blues.
Ninth grader Ruthie Johnson has similar things to say on the topic of friendship at school: “[I love having lunch with friends. It gives me a break in between classes. I also love going home to sleep and rest].” Being able to go to lunch in the middle of the day and having a safe place to rest, whether rest is playing a game and running around with half the class or just having a quiet talk with a small group of people, is one of the most vital parts to anyone’s day. Students, teachers, and even those outside of academic culture all need space in a busy work day in order to recuperate and give their minds a rest away from the sometimes overbearing workload. As such, lunchtime has become a major factor in motivation levels within students. This little joy affects not only those like Ruthie, but everyone who has a busy work day in general.
Eleventh grader Jenaye Ross also expressed her gratitude for her friendships in her busy school day, along with her favorite small joys that get her through her day: “What gets me through my day? Honestly, a venti strawberry refresher with peach justice, and my friends [!] my friends are so positive and they uplift me throughout the day. [And] 2. ‘What small joys give you motivation when you start to feel burnt out or tired?’ I enjoy it when I am able to be around my friends. Especially because they are able to tell if I am upset. They will ask me if I am okay, and start to comfort me.” Besides the wonderful and also delicious tasting serotonin Starbucks can bring, friendships are incredibly helpful in bringing joy to an individual’s day. In addition, they are also crucial for everyday support and emotional balance. In order to find the joy that friendships can bring, it is important to feel safe and comfortable within those friendships. Being able to come to friends for support during the moments when one may feel like everything is too much or a workload is too overwhelming is one of the most life giving, peace– bringing things that exist, especially in middle and high school.
For those graduating this year, it is especially hard. The end is in sight and yet there is still so much left to do, learn, and complete before the end of the school year. Twelfth grader Ellie Jones shares her own experience: “Honestly, lately, it’s been super hard to focus school wise since I’m almost done with high school and I’m thinking about my future, but honestly it’s my friends. I could not get through the school day without them. The laughs and fun times with them definitely make the school day so much easier to get through.” Just like many others, Ellie finds comfort and positivity in her friends. For seniors like Ellie, however, these friendships could mean something a little different. With their high school experience coming to a close, many may be cherishing these friendships more than ever. Even if separation is a terrifying thing, it also brings those who are separating closer together as a result.
Overall, it is obvious that the little things, whether that be friendships, athletics, or pink drinks with peach juice, can be the difference between a tolerable school day and an unbearable one. It is important to find these small joys in everyday life, especially during this “final stretch” of the 2021 – 22 school year. No matter what it is that gives one their own small boost of serotonin, it is incredibly important to remember that if these things get students through their day, it is okay for them to indulge in them (in a healthy way, of course).