Friday, November 18, 2011

Rediscovering adventure

I woke up yesterday morning from a strange dream which had Batman, a masked villain, my school friends, the school auditorium and a hot air balloon :D

And I woke up wishing some of it could be true.

Life has seemed so trapped lately. Studies, attempts (read: short lived, failed attempts) to have fun, dissatisfaction with whatever I did etc. etc. This came to head when I realized something: I'd forgotten to have fun (my friends will probably roll their eyes here). But worse, I had no idea what was fun for me. Did I actually like TV or internet surfing? Did I enjoy rereading my favourite books? Did I enjoy watching new movies? Did I enjoy sleeping? I wasn't even sure what I really enjoyed!

Yesterday morning, I realized what I enjoyed: adventure

But I realized I'm still in class 12th. No chance of a proper vacation and even a day off from studies would induce guilt trips. What kind of adventure could I possibly have in the next six months that would make me feel alive again?

And some day, sooner or later, the fun of new scenes and situations would disappear. Either the number of places I could explore would run out or I'd be too old (I'm kind of afraid of becoming an adult) to enjoy new things. Hmmm...what's the one way to ensure that the adventure lasts? Like I wrote in an earlier post, The Gift of a Day, how could I wake up every morning excited? It used to be easier when I was a kid. Life itself felt like an adventure then.

Maybe I need a new pair of eyes. One that tries to stay unclouded by pessimism, sadness and worry. One that sees and takes advantage of all the good that's available - long days, kind friends, good health. One that doesn't let me stay down when I'm upset. One that's so optimistic that it's always ready to keep moving on. Many experiences have probably made me mellow down and mature. Wisdom doesn't mean I have to be serious all the time. And it doesn't mean I have to lose my drive. I only have one life. Better take care of myself. Getting or not getting something might not mean so much ten years from now or when my life is over. Why make myself unhappy over things that don't really matter?

So I spent my morning listening to my favourite songs that I hadn't listened to in a long time.  In a few days, I'll be meeting my peers in school again. Will they notice a change? Will they like me better? But I should have more faith. Because those who'll mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind. After some months when the farewell and boards have happened, who knows how many will choose to stay in my life?

Life never ends. Every day is an adventure when you can choose to find something new, or lose yourself along the way. Instead of trying, making th choice to commit and do will be my mantra for the next few days. My next adventure could be around the corner...if I keep my eyes open :)

Only eyes open to new things will find them. Only hearts open to happiness will feel it.

Image from: here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

9 myths about 12th class

Yesterday was my last official (or maybe unofficial?) day in class 12th - at least from regular classes. I will write a post on the overall experience some day - but I'm not ready to let go of it just yet. So continuing the theme of my last post, here is a little list I pulled together about 9 enduring myths about 12th class in the CBSE. Enjoy!

9. This year can't be something special, just something forced on you
You might have no control on the way the education system is made, but you do have control on your own potential. It's up to you to make the best of it, waste it or destroy it. Each and every day, you will have chances to do the better thing and every day it's your call. Many 12thees have wonderful memories of the times they spent with their family and friends. Many ordinary things seem all the more special because you're in 12th, even something as small as being called "didi" or "bhaiya". The future is full of mystery - many wonderful surprises might be waiting for you. You really can look back on this year with pride and happiness.

8. You won't mess up at all and won't have a single problem
If you had that magical ability, you probably wouldn't have messed up at all in the years until now. Little mistakes, silly mistakes, annoyances, sad things...they all could happen. Be as cocky as you want, but if mistakes happen, deal with them. It's really the mistakes you'll learn your most valuable lessons from. Really make this YOUR year. And don't panic!

7. If you don't have friends in your section, you're doomed
No way, 12th class is all ABOUT making friends. One of the truest things I was ever told is that in the last year, everyone comes together. The sense of camaraderie actually becomes stronger because all the students in your batch suddenly realise that they're all in the same class - the most senior in the school, soon to pass out. In fact, I've actually seen some friendships grow stronger because the students were in different sections - they valued the time with each other more. And besides, new friendships will form, if you open your heart to them.

6. Everyone should understand what you're going through
Don't get upset when people don't "get" what you're going through. With every age, every school, every past, the experience changes. It is because the emotions may be similar, that stereotypes continue. Everyone you know may start advising you, pitying you, ignoring your problems or (seemingly) scheming against you. Take it easy though - your problems maybe something only you know, but it won't help you to lash out on them or ruin your mood. And it won't help them empathise either. Not everyone might understand, but sometimes, you both can get along even if they don't!

5. Getting stressed out means you care about your studies
I've even tried intentionally stressing myself out, just to get started studying for an upcoming test. You can experiment with this if you like, but I'd say, don't bother with it. The real problem is a lack of motivation. Sustained, unhealthy stress is not good for you. And the difference between unhealthy and healthy stress is how it makes you feel, deep down. Real motivation will get you studying eagerly, happily and fruitfully. Aim for motivation rather than stress.

4. 'Time management', 'accountability' and 'deadlines' are all words made for adults
Haha, you'll get to hear them pretty often from people when you're in 12th. Especially from teachers who begin threatening you on Day 1 and other people who'll have expectations from you. Don't worry, the amazing part is - they're not so bad! In fact, they are actually useful things you can learn which will help you for years and years. You might not learn everything there is to know about them in one year, but if you approach the year determined to learn, these are things worth discovering. Accept it or not, you will become an adult soon. In fact, by the end of the year, you might even discover a way to work them into your style :)

3. You can do anything if you want to, when you want to.
Somewhere, sometime there will be some kind of trade-off, compromise or even, sacrifice. Real maturity will come from doing what you know what is right. While it may sometimes feel like you've lost your freedom, you're actually building it up, little by little. By putting your time, money and energy in the right things you gain control on your life and most of all, on yourself. You get a chance to be that hero who does the right thing in the face of temptation.

2. You'll have three whole months to study before the board exams
Not true, as countless students will testify. Typically, you'll have several exams before the boards which will test you on your complete syllabus. The last few months before the boards usually go into term exams, pre-boards, practicals and lots of revisions. The best time to study is early in the year, in the holidays and all those times you think you don't need to study.

1. For the 12 months you're in 12th grade, you have no life - except studies
NO, your life still remains what you make it. Even the most studious and conscientious take time off study sometimes in 12th and guess what? The sky doesn't fall over their heads. Many students keep in touch with their hobbies along with regular studies. While it is true that studies are important for your future in this year, you still have the choice of how much responsibility to take up. And many of these extra-curriculars will benefit you directly or indirectly. What is true however is that every thing you do will most definitely have consequences and no good action can have a bad consequence. Make this one last year in school the best it can be.

Make the most of the journey!

Those of you out there who've already gone through 12th, what would you add to this list?