To quit is not to err

February 2, 2017 — by Saya Sivaram

Senior shares experiences on tough time management 

You’ve done it again: overstretched yourself so that you’re doing too many activities in too little time. There’s just not enough time for everything, and you find yourself sacrificing sleep and sanity to maintain your participation in everything. Dropping something isn’t an option. Quitting is like sudden death.

Quitting indicates weakness. It shows a lack of determination and a shortage of perseverance. The circumstances don’t matter — nobody really cares about the nuances of the situation when all they can see is that end result. You are a quitter, and will forever be characterized as a quitter.

When it is fully written out, the thought process surrounding quitting seems to belong more in the script of a soap opera than in the minds of teenagers across the nation. Yet, somehow, a nationwide paranoia against quitting pervades society.

Children and teenagers all over the world are ingrained with certain virtues as they grow up: Always finish what you start and never give up. These ideas are considered to be the cardinal rules of success, but they seem to preclude many students from truly being successful during their school careers.

Instead of preaching the follies of quitting, it is necessary that we imbue our students with the knowledge, foresight and bravery to recognize when something stops being effective or useful and knowing when to stop.

SHS students seem to have an especially strong aversion to quitting. Decisions to drop classes or stop extracurriculars are often treated as though they are the greatest of misdemeanors rather than an individual choice that might just lead to the betterment of a person.

For example, many students start the school year in several honors and AP classes, often without knowledge of what those classes truly entail. After a couple weeks of being in the class, they can decide to either stay or move on, effectively “quitting” the class.

Immediately, others label that person as being “too stupid to handle that class” rather than a person who has weighed the benefits of that class with the rest of their priorities and goals and decided that it was the best decision to drop the class.

The most crucial thing in ridding ourselves of this stigma against quitting is to create a clear distinction between “quitting” and “giving up.” Unfortunately, the terms have come to be synonyms to many, both with a negative connotation and a strong allusion to powerlessness. However, the two mean completely different things.

“Giving up” is ceasing a course of action due to the presence of too many obstacles. It is in reference to this that all of the aforementioned cliches stem from, reminding people not to “give up on their dreams” or “let fear stop them from achieving their goals.”

Quitting is something radically different. It is the decision to stop a course of action that is no longer beneficial, educational or enjoyable. Many a time, quitting stems from a lack of passion, a lack of desire to continue in something, but quitting doesn’t always have to do with the difficulty of an activity. If that activity is draining a person’s energy and time, then quitting is actually the intelligent choice to make.

In fact, quitting is a natural part of life — a crucial part of life — that has been villainized and misinterpreted. It is imperative that we overcome this misconception of quitting so that we as a society can continue to advance. When we quit a job, extracurricular activity or career path, we are not giving up, but starting anew.

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