By Jillian Garner.
There always seems to be a division in schools between the “smart kids” and everyone else. This social construct is much less apparent at our Heritage Campus because of its higher learning standards and interpersonal expectation, but the separation is still there. I found this intriguing because no one can truly hold greater intellectual potential than anyone else. Natural proficiency may apply to specific talents and skills, but knowledge has never worked that way. However, as I have spent years in junior high and high school, I’ve come to realize that it has nothing to do with natural ability and everything to do with circumstance and situation.
The large majority of students at Heritage (and teenagers in general) gets an entirely insufficient amount of sleep and skips breakfast and/or lunch most (if not all) days. In fact, students who eat three meals a day and sleep seven hours or more are practically impossible to find. This is seen as the norm, and thus its damaging nature is never acknowledged. However, the difference is seen in the education of teenagers with differing home lives, resources, and priorities. I’m not saying that everyone who skips meals or sleep gets bad grades; simply that their minds are forced to trudge through classes before finally collapsing from lack of fuel rather than easily juggling the concepts and lessons tossed their way.
Because mental care is required for passive proficiency, those who are accustomed to its benefits are labeled as “the smart ones”; while everyone else, who neglects their own minds, is considered to be simply less intelligent. This is a ridiculous notion! Nobody is born with an innate aptitude for knowledge or a larger capacity to learn; some are naturally more curious or adept at memorizing, but ‘being smart’ – which is, in and of itself, a subjective phrase – relies substantially upon the effort that one puts forth – which is dependent upon mental health and hygiene. Mental hygiene may seem like a strange concept, but it is real and largely influential. The method and consistency of maintaining mental order and efficient functionality can be largely overlooked despite its vitality. The power of words and attitude may sound cliche, but they determine your moods and thoughts more than most realize. Today, teenagers are turning into zombies: people with empty, starving minds that follow the crowd for lack of energy, causing a surplus of apathy. The rising generation has already begun its descent.