Summer Break Leads to Risky Choices

Luca DiGregorio, Rambler Staff Writer

Freedom is just out of reach. Freedom, afforded by summer, is just beyond the fingertips of Highland students. But that doesn’t mean absolute freedom. Many students believe they have fewer responsibilities than they do. Many students, sick of sitting still for the past nine months, want to do something, anything that gets them excited. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, the answer is dumb decisions. 

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, crime is at its highest during summer months. This is directly linked to students getting out of school and wanting something to do instead of sitting around for three months. 

This is often mitigated by having something to do, be that a job, or having friends available. Of course, not everyone has that. Not everyone has something to do, which is completely normal. However, that boredom can lead to some rather stupid decisions that have real world consequences. If petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor, it’s punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of six months in the county jail. For a high school student, that’s not a light punishment. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, teenagers take more risks because of evolution. Teenagers need to take a bigger risk than adults to get the same sort of dopamine hit. Dopamine is the primary neural transmitter of positive and exciting feelings. People feel excited and happy when their dopamine levels are high, which are triggered by novel events, certain people, positive places, etc. Teenagers are much more likely to take risks to achieve those dopamine bursts, which could potentially put them in harm’s way. 

It’s the time when, biologically, our bodies can take one hell of a punch and still get back up.  It’s a biological test run of what humans are capable of. But a test run can still go down in flames, just like humans. Teenagers may be able to take a big punch, but there is still a limit. There is a point when the punch is so heavy that you can’t pull yourself out of the dirt again. Likewise, enough smaller punches beat down even the strongest and most resilient. 

A dramatic shift from working for seven to eight hours a day to doing nothing can lead to a deep sense of boredom that compels teenagers, and people in general, to do things they normally wouldn’t do. Intense boredom can lead to a lot of rash and foolish choices that could have major consequences.  

High school is a special time because it’s the rare time when people have a lot of freedom with relatively little responsibility. But if that freedom is abused, it could be lost forever. Take the freedom but use common sense. Don’t let boredom lead to a ruined life.