Jay of Sunshine

It's Still a Beautiful World

Life Can Get Better After High School

on October 27, 2015

For many of us, our insecurities skyrocket during high school. I enjoyed the latter years of my pre-high school life as I was always in the top three as it pertained to academic performance, actively represented the school in various culturally based competitions, wrote poetry and recited on stage, teachers loved me and surprisingly I had friends even though I was reserved. However, high school (Grades 7 to 13) was an intimidating period for me as I was now interacting with peers who were a lot more outspoken, cultured and more academically competitive than those in the previous school. I’m sure lots of persons can relate to this and probably felt no sense of belonging. For those who feel this way now, I’m here to assure you that life can get better as you grow.

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Characters from the TV series, Gossip Girl. Blair (front) who was extremely popular, ruled the student body with the help of her minions (back) who always followed her instructions to avoid banishment from the clique. 

My observation has led me to believe that these personalities were the most befriended in high school: the affluent, those with influential parents, most beautiful according to European or Asian standards (many of these ladies are truly pretty and would still be if they had mostly West African features), the rebels, those who dated popular boys, those who were always in the middle of scandals, talented dancers, singers or athletes and to some extent, those who were academically outstanding. I didn’t fall into any of these groups, perhaps the only criterion that comes closest is academic performance. I did well, but I wouldn’t say my grades were newsworthy. Anyway, I cowered instead of taking little opportunities to build and showcase talents because I was fearful of being ridiculed. I had a few friends but most of them were also like me – quiet, got A’s and B’s, no boyfriends, just not popular.

Now I’m not saying that there’s something wrong if your presence wasn’t felt in high school, it’s just that many of us were so overwhelmed by our insecurities that we didn’t bother to shine. If you tried your best in various activities but were unsuccessful then I applaud you because you tried and I’m sure you became stronger as a result. Many of us didn’t have teachers, coaches and other motivators to push us to come out of our shells and make our mark. Many of us didn’t even know that we could be our own motivators. Worst of all, many of us didn’t realise that being good girls who were studious, focused and spiritual doesn’t mean that you weren’t interesting. (No, Rushina, this applied to you lol. You definitely left an indelible mark even though you were one of us).

During 6th form I did become friends with a few popular ladies who matched the criteria outlined above because it turned out that we shared similar interests. I am still in touch with some of these ladies. It wasn’t until I went to University that I became friends with more like-minded girls who had a voice (even though one or two are introverts), were fashionable and beauty conscious, confident, very God- fearing, a little boy crazy but still knew how to prioritize, driven and to top it off, caring. Maybe I just didn’t interact with that many persons during high school but I never knew that people with all of these characteristics existed. I continue to look up to these ladies as they are truly inspiring.

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(From l-r) Me, Becky, Tash, Dae Dae and JJ put group assignment on pause to smile for the camera. This photo was taken sometime between 2008 and 2009 while we were pursuing undergraduate degrees

So for those of you in high school who feel as though you don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t despair – life gets better. If you don’t know how to play tennis but want to learn then by all means do it. If the tennis club members at your school show no interest in training you just because you are a “nobody” then find someone else who can. Explore hidden talents and be the best version of you. Be true to who you are. Maybe you are afraid to hone some skills and talents now. That’s ok, just take baby steps and be patient with yourself. If no one wants to associate with you right now, don’t worry, the older you get, the more you will meet like-minded people who will appreciate you for being authentically you.

So for those of you in high school who feel as though you don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t despair – life gets better. If you don’t know how to play tennis but want to learn then by all means do it. If the tennis club members at your school show no interest in training you just because you are a “nobody” then find someone else who can. Explore hidden talents and be the best version of you. Be true to who you are. Maybe you are afraid to hone some skills and talents now. That’s ok, just take baby steps and be patient with yourself. If no one wants to associate with you right now, don’t worry, the older you get, the more you will meet like-minded people who will appreciate you for being authentically you.

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