THE BLOG

'Quitting' Is Perfectly Normal

29/09/2014 13:34 BST | Updated 28/11/2014 10:59 GMT

'If at first you don't succeed, cry and moan and try something else' is my motto.

I've been called a quitter. By friends, by parents... by a resentful drum teacher whose sole motive appeared to be to drain the money from my parents' bank account like a balding, middle aged vacuum. However, I strongly disagree with them, whether or not they called me it in jest, as I've found that 'quitting' an activity is a whole lot more fun than spending two hours every Tuesday doing something I dislike, like playing duck duck goose at a Scouts meeting or discussing 50 Shades of Gray with a lonely group of elderlies. Of course, by 'quitting' I don't mean adopting a lazy disregard for doing anything outside Internet binge-watching football highlights and game show moments. I, despite what would appear to be a small track record of 'giving up', have been blessed with more time to pursue those interests that, well...interest me!

I am glad that neither of my parents have any deep seated regret or unfulfilled dreams that I am aware of, so I was luckily given a choice over what extracurricular activities I could continue; in an alternate universe my mum would be a strict Taiwanese tiger mom and I would be at a beauty pageant as we speak. In that alternate universe, I would have no desire to continue living on the god-forsaken hellhole Earth will have become.

My first foray into the wonders of 'quitting' came in second grade, when I was told by my primary school that I was capable enough to be able to play one of three instruments; piano, violin or trumpet. So I, knowing very little about the intricacies of musical instruments, picked the one with the most sex appeal. Another plus to the violin is the fact that it takes a long time for it to sound anything more than terrible, so I could hide my inability relatively easily. However, after two or three months of mediocre lessons in which I sawed the strings of the violin with all the satisfaction (and grimace) of someone walking on hot coal, I decided I wasn't cut out for a classical instrument.

A short time after I decided the violin wasn't the chick magnet I had expected it to be, I decided that football (or 'soccer') would be my next calling (that is, after brief stints believing that becoming a wrestler and/or Power Ranger was). At that age, I didn't watch much football, but knew that if I was to play a sport-in order to avoid my seven year old body becoming that of a child-sized Andre the Giant- it should be football over a sport like rugby, which would give me a better chance of being split in half than actually having fun. As it turns out, playing football was an ability I had only rivalled by my ability to recite the lyrics to WWE entrance songs. Unfortunately, by the end of my seventh season, following a career riddled with groin injuries and laziness, I retired as the self-confessed star defender and/or benchwarmer. Despite this, the following season I returned in a blaze of glory, with my teammates thrilled I'd returned. I was back on top, ready to lead the team as captain for my whole non-adult life! I pulled my groin badly a few months later, and 'retired' again.

Despite how it happens, important things may change in our life; but the more important fact is that changes should be embraced in order to make something of them. In our high school years, many students are afraid to change, to change what those around us believe define us. Yet we shouldn't be.

Something that I've found is an exclusively American phenomenon is the 'packing' of a college application full of extracurricular activities, many of which carry no particular meaning to the student, or are activities that the student takes part in for the pure sake of admissions. It is a sad but true fact. This is why I commend the students who do what they love as they love it, not because they believe an admissions officer may love it.

From my months spent trawling the internet for help with my college applications, I've gathered this: College admissions officers aren't looking for a list of extracurriculars, they're looking for people... and people should do what makes them happiest every day (apart from the day you take the SATs, I guess that can't really be avoided). We teenagers face pressure from all sides to do this and that when we should realise that these are the years in which we have the most freedom; freedom to try new things and suffer little consequences; freedom to quit. I don't know how little freedom adults have, but judging by my mum's obsession with staying inside watching Real Housewives and reading Good Housekeeping, whatever is ahead surely can't be as fun as we can make these years. So, if you know that you really don't want to continue doing something in order to follow a new interest, I say DO IT!!! However, to avoid the negative connotations, don't call it 'quitting'- I prefer to call it a 'tactical substitution'.