Eat. Play. Love.

My friends and I playing together at our local park back in elementary school.

If I had to stay a certain age forever, it’d be five. When I was five, I was enrolled in kindergarten, where my school days started at 12:30 p.m. and ended at 3:20 p.m. In class, I learned to memorize the alphabet, all the numbers up to one hundred, and the lyrics to all of the songs by The Wiggles. During recess, I played on the playground, rode tricycles, and used the swings with my best friends. At the end of every school day, we had free time, where we could paint, play with Play-Doh, use the computers, or draw. Every holiday, we had a class party and played games, which included musical chairs. I can still remember the time we played it during our Christmas party very vividly. It was down to the final round: Kelly and me. We both rushed to the chair simultaneously, but, I ended up on the floor and she as the winner. And yes, I’m talking about the Kelly who sits a seat diagonally from me in English class.

At my babysitter’s house, I played outside in the backyard with my friends. Our definition of playing meant mixing dirt and water together and throwing the mud we made at each other. We also had pretend tea parties with our toy cups when we weren’t outside, but water always ended up being spilled throughout the house whenever had them. Oftentimes, our actions resulted in being scolded by an adult for making a mess. When we weren’t up to trouble, we were watching Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. Whatever we did, it was all in good fun.

In the early evenings, I played with my neighbors outside. We would draw flowers on our driveways with sidewalk chalk, cruise around the Cul-de-sac in my Barbie Jeep, and play jump rope. In the summertime, you could find us outside spraying each other with the hose and having waterballoon and water gun fights outside.

At home, I had an entire collection of stuffed animals. My collection ranged from Care Bears to Build-a-Bears, and everything in between. You name it, I had it. In the living room, coloring books, dolls (mainly Barbie ones), and toys from all my Happy Meals filled the two chests underneath my train table. Luckily, my younger brother was still a wee baby at the time so I never had to share any of my toys with him.

Play. Play. Play. That’s all I did when I was five. The hardest thing I ever had to do was eat my vegetables when I was at that age. It seemed as if everywhere I went, adults were always encouraging me to play.

Being five, I never knew sleep deprivation felt like, as I always slept before nine o’clock each night and took naps when I got home from school. Now, I barely get five hours of sleep on the weekdays.

I spend my nights studying and doing my homework. The workload in high school is crazy, and even crazier during junior year. My parents aren’t telling me “go outside and play,” anymore. Now, they’re telling me to go study, or to do my best in school. Back in kindergarten, school was my favorite place to be, as I was always playing and surrounded by friends in and outside of the classroom. Today, school is one the thing that stresses me out the most.

Grades. College. Career. Future.

There’s a domino effect that starts with doing well in school, and I feel an immense pressure to succeed, or I’ll somehow end up starving on the streets. There’s no longer any time to play, like the way I did back when I was five.

Granted, my friends and I don’t hang out as much as we used to anymore simply because we’re too busy with school. Even at school, I don’t have time to hang out with my friends during lunch. Most days, I’m in the library during lunch getting a head start on homework so I don’t have to stay up in the middle of the night trying to finish all my schoolwork. Having a zero through sixth period is tough.

Luckily, this past Wednesday was Global School Play Day. In my English class, we were given the entire period to play whatever we wanted with whoever we wanted to. Instead of spending time in a classroom setting, my fellow classmates and I were encouraged to go outside and just play.

Tracy. Kassidy. Kyle. William. Kelly. Cassidy. Julie.

I chose the people listed above to play with for Global School Play Day because I was already familiar or friends with them. We went outside and sat around a table underneath the blue tarps. We decided to play card games, the first being Uno. Personally, I love Uno. Whenever my cousins on my dad’s side from Northern Californa and I get together, we always play Uno. We always have so much fun doing so, as there are the ‘wild draw +4’, ‘draw +2’, ‘reverse’, and ‘skip’ cards that seem to make everyone go “OHHHHH!” when they’re played. Playing with friends however, was a refreshing change from playing Uno with the same group of people.

After our game of Uno was over, we moved on to card games. I learned how to play a new game called Egyptian Ratscrew, better known as Egyptian War. I discovered that the game was very fast paced, and that everything could change in the blink of an eye. Although I didn’t spend fourth period in a classroom that day, I was still able to learn something I hadn’t known before. In this case, it was a new game.

Instead of being stressed or full of worries like usual, I was actually enjoying myself in the presence of my friends during this event. In fact, I had completely forgotten about final grades coming out soon. All is good in the company of games and friends.

My experience with Global School Play Day lasted a little less than an hour, but it felt more like 20 minutes. I guess time really goes by when you’re having fun.

Rather than having a Global School Play Day, I propose we have Global School Play Days. Everyone could benefit from more play, especially us AP students.


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