We are raised being told we can be absolutely anything in our life. We were little kids saying we wanted to be a police officer, a firefighter or a nurse. We grow up thinking we have so much time to become one of these things that we never really acknowledge it.
In year 10 of high school everybody is asking what you’re going to do for the rest of your life and your studies start becoming dependent on this. You feel overwhelmed. You’re 16 years old and your only just legal to sit in the driver seat of a car. You go to school, come home and play video games, or hang out in your bedroom with your friends, or even sleep. How are you supposed to make life decisions right at this moment in your life? You think that whatever you choose, that’s what you’re going to be stuck with. Nobody reassures you that this isn’t the case and then you feel worse because everyone else knows what they are doing and you don’t.
But do they really know? Does anyone really know at that age?
Year 11 senior school comes and you have given up on thinking about this pressure because school is too stressful and you become this 17 year old party animal who just wants to live in the moment, socialize and enjoy your teenager’s years. And you absolutely should!
Year 12, you never could have imagined stress could be this painful. You are topped with a bucket load of assignments that need to be done in order for you to pass but will never actually be used in real life. A 1000 word essay is the least of your worries and you are expected to have a part-time job, a social life and maybe a relationship, just to top it all off. You feel as though you will never get out of this. But honey, you will.
I personally couldn’t tell you what my year 12 was like because I never completed it. I didn’t even start.
People used to think, “what a dropout” or, “she’s lucky” or even, “you won’t get a job without it.” School wasn’t for me, I completed the tasks with much difficulty but never went over and beyond. I never stayed back to finish assignments, I never studied, I never completed homework. In fact I remember so very clearly a teacher told me I would never get anywhere in life, “You are useless, in 5 years you will be serving me at the local supermarket and you will wish you had of listened to me.”
Never has something stuck with me so much. How could a fully grown adult say that publicly to a 16 year old girl with no shame? You would think this would have torn me down and I can tell you it did the exact opposite. I moved out of home a year later, to pursue my career in an industry of my passion. I worked my ass off to get into a private college that specialized in Event Management. I defied all requirements and got in, graduated and managed to start a new life. I was only making enough money to allow me to pay for my food and my rent. I was never able to buy that shirt I wanted, or the shoes, or the earrings. I was barely able to go out for tea with my friends. But I was happy.
I have done all these amazing things and at one stage I thought I was the best (chuck out the rest!).
Took me not long to take a step back and realize that it doesn’t matter what I’ve done or who I’ve met but what matters is the impact I make on other people.
You could be famous, you could be rich, and you could have the most friends. You could have kissed your favorite boy from a boyband, you could have finished year 12, or had expensive handbags.
But in reality we are taught that we need to become a professional in an industry that we could either love or hate but what we aren’t taught is that we need to become a good person, through the road to success or even while we are failing. We need to become a good friend, a good sibling, a good aunty, uncle, mother, father, acquaintance or anything else. And to me, that’s all that matters and being a decent human being is better than anything written on paper.
Oh the places you’ll go… remember to treat the people you meet there with utter kindness and respect and you will always be a winner.