My perspective: Please help yourself


Jocelyn Sweeney

“Bill has 8 apples. Ann gives him 3 more. How many apples does Bill have now?” My 6-year-old little sister reads off her math homework. She tries the math in her head and gets an answer of 10. I tell her to try again, but this time she draws a picture and gets an answer of 11. The solution was simple, she just needed to think through the problem. 

   I know math isn’t everyone’s strong suit, so let me draw a picture for you.

  Anyone + excessive phone use= depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, poor communication skills, and decreased productivity.

  And the opposite is true: Anyone – excessive phone use = better mental health, sleep, and productivity.

   “Research shows that the number of students struggling with anxiety and depression has exploded. There’s not a direct correlation, but since the time that smart phones came out, there’s been a significant increase in anxiety and depression in teens,” school psychologist Gail Perton said. A link between phone usage and mental health exists, which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, but even knowing the negatives of excessive phone use, many students fail to respond. 

   In a recent survey of 244 West Ottawa students, 101  indicated that they suffered from mental health problems. Of those 101 students, 66 said that they did not limit their phone use, and 36 of those 66 acknowledged in an earlier question that giving up their phone would improve their mental health.

   Teens cause themselves more stress by using their phones and social media excessively when the solutions are simple.

   Students often use spam accounts to vent about their problems. Ironically, social media is making their problems worse. “I have so much homework I want to cry.” Putting away the phone and finishing your homework would solve that problem.

   “I’m swimming in a pool of failure in AP Lang… I haven’t turned in like two essays.” Whining won’t finish those essays, so why not put your phone away? A college professor won’t accept either of those late papers.

   “Cried myself to sleep for the third night. (three heart face emoji’s)” If you’re actually going through something, stop going on social media and get some help. Online pity isn’t a solution to this problem.

   “I don’t study or do my homework yet I complain when I get a bad grade.” At least you’re self-aware. The next step in recovery is doing something. Once you put in the effort and do not get the results, you might have the right to complain.

   “Don’t binge watch Netflix all night or you won’t be able to stay awake in school lol.” This solution is so simple I question whether this student has ever taken a math class. Do yourself a favor and read a book or something before you plan to sleep instead: you’ll learn more and sleep better.

   I don’t understand how some of these people have gone through high school without realizing that they have control of their lives. Being successful in high school is not difficult with some self-discipline.

   Most people I follow are taking their terrible habits with them to college. They will probably struggle their first semester, maybe fail, and then have to make a change. Make your life easier and kick the bad habits now.

   “There is an increased need for young adults to recognize what they should consider acceptable phone usage, so that time spent on a phone doesn’t take away from more important activities,” school social worker Ron Lindstrom said. The reason students have issues with social media is they do not set boundaries.

   The statistics and students admit that their mental health would improve without a phone, but they keep using, which isn’t surprising because students often ignore making the correct decision.

   After Michigan legalized recreational marijuana, high school students smoking weed came up. I knew the girl next to me was an avid user, and she claimed that smoking helped her do well on tests; however, she failed her math class the year before and was struggling to pass the class we were currently sitting in. I don’t understand how she could believe something that was obviously false. Maybe, someone’s test scores benefit from weed; however, that person is obviously not her.

   No high school relationships are perfect, but every time I hear a couple complaining about each other I lose my mind. You should talk or break up. It’s that easy.

   Don’t have money? Get a job or stop spending so much. Got fired from your job? Stop calling in sick every week. Not getting enough playing time? Work harder in practice. Confused on something? Ask for help.

   The math is simple.

   A problem + effort = a solution.

   Most problems are solvable using skills from elementary school. Students need to realize that they can help themselves.