Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

Recognize your talents and cling to optimism

MUMBIA, India – Aren’t we in a race? High school years are a watershed in the history we write of our lives. The formative years spent here lay a foundation for our tryst with real life.
A host of coming-of-age syndromes and other challenges bedevil the high school years.
Adopting the right approach is crucial to our quest for success, which is in itself a highly contentious term. Doesn’t that sound mumbo-jumbo?
The narrative for high school years boils down to a simple analogy of a horse race. The very first day we embark on a race which ends with the start of the journey of life.
There are various creatures running in this race. You will find stallions neighing and galloping around in their stomping ground. On the other hand, we have mares who preen and pout with a vanity of their own. With both of them more than willing to mingle, the saga of high school is scripted.
Oh wait – how can we forget the depression-susceptible ponies that canter around hysterically? On the other end of the spectrum, we have the academic racehorses – the ostrich-like contenders who stick their heads in the books. In it to win it, huh?
And finally, importantly, not to forget, we have the donkeys. Some call them bullies.
Donkeys in a horse race! It is very likely that you will be confronted with one of these. Many of you, too, might transform into ‘sage donkeys’ with time.
So, how can we tackle these donkeys? Well, my solution is, to take them by their horns. Simply put, remain stoic in response to their tantrums and see how their donkey spirit fades.
This race is a complex one, and the track is full of twists and turns. Let’s delve deep into the nature of this micro-race of our macro-life.
Why are our high school years significant? It is because they are the confluence of the peak of adolescence and the birth of individuality.
These are the years when we come to our own.
At the same time, we find it hard to let go of the utopia and fantasies of pre-teen years. This internal turbulence is manifested in sullen moods, temperamental behavior and susceptibility to depression and addiction, among other vague syndromes.
This emotional and behavioral baggage that we carry with our books can be taxing. We feel lonely and seek refuge in things which speak our language. We remain holed up in our comfort zone until we realize the reality. I suggest that people who seek real refuge in this virtual high school world should fall back on spirituality.
The fallacious perception of spirituality being one with religion might bog you down, though. The truth is that these two are distinct.
Spirituality, by way of meditation and introspection, makes you look within. It endows you with discerning wisdom or the ability to judge what to do and what not to do. It’s about time you broke the paradigm and embrace spirituality as an integral part of your life and a solution to your problems. Remember, the race is always within.
Another problem students face is discord with their parents and teachers, which is often attributed to the generation gap or a lack of understanding. Half of our problems would be over if we could step into the shoes of our parents and teachers. Actually, we fail to acknowledge their apprehensions, and so we are unable to quell them.
The most important question looming over this race is, “What are you running for?”
If you don’t know what your aim is, then you are running in a rat race.
It is important to recognize our talents and fathom our abilities. High school is where you get to do this.
You must involve yourself in all the activities so as to find that one ability that makes you stand out. However, it is easier said than done.
It is very important to cling to the slightest whiff of optimism. High school is usually full people who will say, “You can’t do it.”
The true joy lies in proving them wrong. Have an ambition and strive hard for it.
The challenges associated with performance at high school can sometimes be immense. Remember, there is no substitute to meticulous efforts.
And do cling to optimism. Make yourself believe that you can do it!
Reams can be written on how to ‘survive’ high school, but the panacea for your problems lie inside of you.
No expert or counselor or soothsayer can decipher your feelings. Just savor your high school years and make them memorable.
I sometimes wish I had my childhood years back when I was safely cradled by my parents, immune to the insecurities of life. But, if wishes were horses, beggars might ride – and even win the race.

Pushkal Shivam is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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