Opinion – Getting through the year: A personal journey toward acceptance

Shravani Page | Staff Writer

 We did it.

We got through this year. 

This year has managed to throw an ample of challenges our way and we’ve powered through every one of them. So we won…right?

As proud as I am of how far I’ve personally come this year, I still find myself entrapped in my lingering thoughts. Lingering thoughts about everything I could’ve had if I didn’t have to overcome outside challenges in my life. A part of me just can’t be proud of myself. A part of me just can’t let go of this year.

I spend so much of my time devoted to “what ifs.” Like what if I pushed harder in school? What if I would’ve dedicated the time of my breakdowns to studying for a test I ended up doing badly on? What if spending all this time trying to recover was a waste if the thoughts would just bounce right back?

And even then, what if I would’ve just let go and lived life as someone who only strived to be happy? Would I feel the same way I do?

But the reality is that it is too late to spend my time contemplating “whats ifs.” What has happened has happened and I have no choice but to move on. Life, even though it feels like it sometimes, is never still. It is always moving forward, so maybe that’s what I should do. 

I feel that I’ve been carefully crafted into someone striving for perfection, not happiness. This year of high school has been the hardest to balance for a lot of us. 

As a junior who’s going to be starting the college application process in the next few months, I can safely say I am terrified. I’m worried about not having the perfect grades or the perfect “stats” as somehow I’ve been conditioned to believe that those will guarantee me college acceptance. 

So I lay here- or technically sit as I am currently doing while writing this- thinking about what I could’ve possibly done this year to do better. To think better. 

And with that mindset, I start invalidating myself. I began invalidating my own experiences. I blamed myself for everything I went through, I didn’t feel like I reached my full potential this year. I invalidated my recovery. 

My best effort toward anything was never felt like enough. Still, with my best effort, I was average. 

Earlier this year, I chose to shift my thought process from primarily my academics to my mental health(something I felt I had to sacrifice for a top-notch academic career). Recovering was by no means linear. It was a literal rollercoaster. I would have days or weeks where my effort paid off. And I would have days where my effort didn’t. Somedays I’d wake up feeling energized and ready to start the day. Most days I got up just “because I knew I had to.” Negative thoughts are powerful. The more those thoughts linger, the greater impact they have.

So to limit their impact, I am giving myself a well-deserved break this summer. Yes, I know I need to do my college apps, wrap up studying, and somehow manage to credit flex 120 hours worth of P.E. credit. But I also know that I deserve to give myself grace. Give myself a well-needed break because I made it through a year where obstacles were thrown front-and-back, left-and-right. 

I lost myself this year; I want a chance to find myself again and find out what makes me happy outside of the classroom.

And that’s what I hope for anyone reading this. To take a break, even if it’s a small one, to revitalize the part of you that truly wants to be happy. To find the person inside you who’s intrinsically motivated. Who strives to live a life worth living.

Because you did it. 

You got through this year. 

Congratulations, I am so proud of you and you should be too.