Heart of Harker: Prioritizing ourselves

by Amla Rashingkar, Guest Writer

Like most of you, I grew up thinking school was my priority. I walked into high school yearning for a high GPA. I wanted to be the poster child for everything I did. The word “stop” didn’t exist in my vocabulary. I always wanted more. 

The desire to impress my parents and my peers lurked behind me like a shadow. I described myself as motivated to learn more, work on my talents and become a strong applicant. I wanted to triumph over challenges and win every battle. Most of my friends and classmates were, and still are, like me. The people at this school are some of the most articulate, well-rounded and intellectually driven people I’ve met. The determination I’ve seen in some people here is astounding.

But there’s a difference between self-motivation and unintentional self-destruction. I’ve too often seen someone forget to take care of themselves in their quest for improvement. As we’ve progressed through high school, late nights and early mornings spent studying became a common occurrence. Like our sleeping schedules, a lot of our eating schedules are irregular, partly because we skip meals to study and partly because we plan our lives around studying and extracurriculars. When I can’t find a friend during lunch, it’s almost always because they are studying in the library instead of eating.

There’s a difference between self-motivation and unintentional self-destruction.

— Amla Rashingkar

In a group of people this talented, it’s not hard to feel inadequate. Sometimes, conversations can feel like competitions. Everyone here is brilliant and unique and can offer something to the table. 

Insecurities and stress can blanket you and your field of vision, blocking sight of the path ahead of you. Check in with yourself and your friends. Make sure that those around you are okay. 

Perspective comes with experience and years most of us don’t have. Uncertainty looms over our future, and a constant grind and domineering work ethic are convenient security blankets. Most of us are haunted by the fears of not being good enough or amounting to nothing. However, every alumnus and adult I’ve vented to has told me that they’re not true; we’re all extraordinary, and we will all do something great with our lives. 

As difficult as it is sometimes, we need to take care of ourselves. Getting some sleep won’t solve all your problems, but there’s a chance that it will make you feel better. We can’t expect to be at our best if we don’t feel like it. Sacrificing health for achievements has and will continue to take a toll on us. 

I’m guilty of a lot of this too, and I regret not trying to take care of myself earlier. I wish I had taken off my blinders earlier and spent more time making memories with my friends than stressing over how I’d look on paper. At the end of the day, my accomplishments will have their weight, but none of them will truly matter if I’m not happy enough to enjoy them. I need to be my own priority. There are ways to keep the fire alive without burning the match out. Life is short, but high school is shorter. Let’s make this time count.

This article was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on Nov. 18, 2019.