Lessons I learned from Sleepaway Camp

Anyone who has gone to a sleepaway camp knows that the moment you leave camp and return home, you get really bored.

“I have nothing to do today.”

It’s annoying.

You text your friends to see who is free to hang out. No one is. Everyone is busy.

There’s nothing to do.

fireLet’s face it; life is just easier at camp, especially the social aspect. Get bored? Ask one of the other 15 people living with you if they want to hang out. Or, if you’re so inclined, walk around for a few moments, and you’re sure to meet some friendly faces. There is always something to do and someone to hang out with. Things just aren’t like that at home.

And, if we’re really being honest here, at camp you’re always talking face to face. You’re having real life conversations, whereas at home, most social interaction happens on the Internet and through social media. Even if you’re with your friends in person, there’s always a distraction on your phone.

At home, you also have less time to hang out with friends. All of a sudden school has started, and it seems like you have about a million classes with so much homework at night that you feel like you’re drowning. But, hey, at least you get to see your friends, right?

Still, school is tough. With so much work, it’s hard to really enjoy life. It’s easy to get swept up in all the obligations you have to everything, not just school. Being a teenage girl myself, I can say that as a bona-fide fact.

What all of this means is that sometimes you realize that you don’t “find” time to do things, you have to make it.

I really think the most important thing in high school is scheduling. If you aren’t careful about scheduling, you forget things. You miss sports practice, or you forget your English homework, and you end up stressed, all-over-the-place, and confused. It’s not fun. Scheduling is a must. Plus, when you know exactly when you’re free, you can make time for friends!

One important part of scheduling is to take advantage of the time you do have. If you’re free this Friday after school, don’t go home and watch Netflix. Ask your friends if they’re free and if they want to hang out. If everyone is busy, sure, go home and pig out. But it’s hard enough to find social time, so don’t waste it.

Now, social media, like I mentioned earlier?  Sometimes you just don’t have time to go hang out with someone and have an in-depth conversation, so social media can be useful for keeping up with things and staying in touch. It’s really not great, though, if you want to develop and keep real friendships. Maybe that’s why camp friendships are always so tight. All interaction, whether big or small, is in person. Personally, I’ve never minded very much being away from Instagram and Facebook when I’m at camp because I’m having way too much fun to miss it. I think that’s what everyone’s social goal at home should be: to not need social media. Like I’ve said, it can be nice, but it’s never as great as the real thing.

Now at this point, some of you might be wondering why all this is relevant, and my answer is that it’s relevant to everyone. Sleepaway camp gives people a chance to realize that they don’t need social media, and it sets an example for how people should act outside of it. Sure, that may sound crazy; but, really, think about it. You do a plethora of activities, you don’t waste the valuable time you have on unimportant stuff, you spend time with your friends, and you aren’t constantly staring at your phone. Shouldn’t that be what life is like all the time?

So this school year, don’t roll your eyes at how much time you spend running from one thing to the next. Appreciate it. Utilize the lessons you’ve learned at sleepaway camp to make this year the best ever because you know deep down you enjoy it. And, I think we can all agree, it’s way better than sitting at home doing nothing.

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