Grad Party Rant

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

Short and sweet this week, apologies in advance for the rant.

It’s that time of year again. High school graduation is looming and many of those who will soon be receiving a diploma will be relishing their last few days of high school by partying (only after exams are over though, I hope!). Enjoy, but proceed with caution.

As a child, I didn’t quite understand all the excitement that came with graduation. It seemed as if it would be more natural to breathe a sigh of relief once diploma in hand, relax a bit, and then plunge into new projects. I would shake my head in disgust at the high school seniors who would whiz around the elementary school during lunch recess, taunting the younger students who still had years left in school before they could don a grad gown, complete with tasseled hat. Now that I’m older, I understand where the excitement surrounding graduation is coming from. Months of hard work at school and after school, built up fatigue and at some point you come to the realization that you’re about to take a big step toward independence– these factors create plenty of exhilaration when it comes time to graduate.

That said, while celebrating with friends and family, snapping photos, and saying good bye to life in high school are appropriate ways to commemorate the occasion, partying hard in all of its various forms is reckless and irresponsible. Yes, I realize that this point of view will likely fall on deaf ears for some, with people arguing that everyone does it, that it won’t do any damage, and that you only live once, etc. To that I reply: doing something because you’ve been told to do it by everyone else can make you qualify as a mindless robot drone, anything for which reassurance that no harm will be done is necessary ultimately doesn’t do much good and therefore cannot really not do any harm since you’re losing the benefits of doing something better, and you only live once, why would you risk blowing it (and I’m not even referencing the potential serious consequences here; the minutely serious social consequences are bad enough)? Of course, this argument could be dragged on and on, but let’s stop here.

The bottom line is that the way you celebrate major and minor life events says something important about your attitude toward life in general and that should be considered. It comes down to a question of beliefs: your values will show through your choices. Just because there weren’t any consequences for something doesn’t mean that it was an acceptable choice as values should be considered to; that distinction needs to be seen.

Just my two cents on the matter.

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on June 4th, 2011.

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