It Isn't Worth Being That Perfect Pick For College When You Are Losing Your Individuality

It Isn't Worth Being That Perfect Pick For College When You Are Losing Your Individuality

This year has been more than an emotional roller coaster; it's been eternal hell.
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Work harder. Push yourself. What, that's it? Wow, you literally can't do anything. You're useless, you got a 91 on that math quiz. Look at that kid taking 10 APs, while you are here taking just two APs. You'll never make it to college. You're a failure.

I regret every day of this school year.

This year has been more than an emotional rollercoaster; it's been eternal hell. And I'm only a freshman in high school. It shouldn't be like this. Right? But, why is it that I feel this way? And almost every freshman I know has shared similar feelings with me.

The worst part is, even though I worked my hardest and accomplished all this — maintained straight A's, completed two igeAPs, made my school's IGEM team, semi-finaled in two national debate tournaments, became sophomore president, was in String Orchestra, ran track and won at SLC for HOSA — it feels like I have done absolutely nothing, that I have wasted every day of school year.

I feel empty.

I was on a hamster wheel, running, running, getting exhausted, but I continued to run and got no where. Because, that's what I thought successful people did. They worked their butts off until they succeeded. They would not accept anything below their goals. And they were able to sacrifice everything to achieve anything. But these are lies. Lies. Plain bold lies.

This is not what successful people do. This is what stupid people do. And tell me I'm wrong. Being valedictorian is no longer about who worked the hardest and got academic success; it's about whose family is wealthier and can afford to pay for those online classes. I can tell you lists of people that are smart and talented but they are always undermined by the "finessers."

I vividly remember talking to the recent graduating class, and they all told me the same thing, "High school is a lot of fun." But, is it really? When the trend is to take more APs, you beg your parents to pay for more APs. And I'm not saying more APs is wrong. But, some point, we're all going to snap and burn-out. No one can survive off of two to three hours of sleep everyday as high school freshman.

Imagine the years to come. Is it really worth sacrificing our health for our class rank?

SEE ALSO: School Vending Machines Are An Analogy For My Teen Life

And because of the lack of collaboration and an increase in competition, people like me live in anxiety everyday confused about what to do. Do I take more APs so I don't fall behind everyone and sacrifice my extracurriculars and my passions? Or, do I focus on what I want to do and fall behind?

And at this point, it's becoming no longer a high school but a survival show where everyone has the mindset, that there is only one winner.

And it's not the school that caused this. This is student lead. Each student isn't pushing themselves because they want to learn but because they want to get into a good college. They do this out of fear, not passion. And that's crucial because it ruins the purpose of taking advance placement classes.

Taking online APs is a lot easier than taking it in class. It's easier to "finesse" the system. When one student takes an AP online, this causes 10 other kids to take two APs online. Then 10 more kids taking three APs. It causes a snowball effect, and it destroys collaboration. It dramatically increases pressure levels.

It's no longer, "I will be the best I will become," but more about "I have to become better than that other kid."

The worst part is... is this what really colleges want? By the time the class of 2021 graduates, the average GPA would be above 4.0, guaranteed. But, all this hard work, will it lead to nothing? In the next three years, will we become so caught up on taking APs and competing in stuff for the sake of college that we will lose our individuality? I want to try photography, and I truly think I'll enjoy it. But, I'll never get to do it. Because...

A) I don't have enough time, and...

B) I will be wasting time and could be do something more "valuable."

If you look in the dictionary, the definition of valuable is "a thing of great worth." Is it of value that you lose your individuality to become a better "competitor?" Is it worth that you risk your health and social life to take more APs? More importantly, do you wanna win that competition for that college application or for yourself?

I'm going to get huge backlash and every try-hard kid is going to hate me. I'm not telling to not to your achieve your goals. But find value in why you want to achieve that goal.

SEE ALSO: Stop Calling Me A Try-Hard When My Parents Have Sacrificed So Much For My Success

By taking this AP or entering that competition, how will this help you grow as a person or make you happy? Work hard for yourself, not for your resume. In fact, if we continue to work for college, and not for us, this toxic environment will make us into homogenous people. We'll all be AP snakes that are so-called "perfect" for colleges.

This problem didn't come from the school system or parents. But it comes increasingly from the students themselves. Teachers and my family have warned me to find balance. To love what you do until you can do what you love. Be a smart and humble competitor.

Because I was blindfolded, I now feel lost. I've wasted an entire year doing things people expected me to do and few things I actually wanted to do. I've lost so many opportunities because I didn't simply have time. And if freshman year is this bad, imagine junior year.

This is a message for individuals like me. Don't worry. All is well. Don't follow of what others expect of you, but do what you want to do.

Love what you do so much, that you don't feel irritated.

By the time we graduate, the number game will be over. It will be who is the best individual. Our generation is going towards quantity over quality, and that's going to lead to our failure. Mass production of defective machines is no better.

I know nothing may change after this article. But I can change me and the perspective I have of high school. I'm not going to live in this eternal hell where I'm forced to do stuff for the sake of a good college. Because if anything...

"No one has ever changed the world by doing what the world has told them to do." — Eddy Zhong
Cover Image Credit: Srikusumanjali Pinamareddy

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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