(A San Silvestre students take on the book “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***”)
It’s a well-known fact that once a San Silvestre student reaches secondary, stress becomes a major part of their everyday life. Suddenly we have to care about our curriculum, IGCSEs, homework, prom, how to become an official and a hundred other things. With our minds so torn between what we want to do, what we have to do and what we are supposed to do it seems almost impossible to lead the carefree life we are meant to at this age, right? Well, here is a little secret: the best thing we can learn to do is to totally and absolutely stop caring about everything and everyone, and as radical a change as this must seem, it’s the only solution I can find to ease our overworked selves.
The first step towards not caring is probably the most simple and logical of all: a list. Take a piece of block paper, sit down in front of the tv and start jotting down every-single-thing in your life that stresses you out. From that annoying math teacher, to the fact that once again you signed up for the swimming gala and are totally regretting it – write everything down. Once you have your own little list from hell, ask yourself: why do I do all of these things? Analyse the reason behind your impulsive swimming gala joining, your hatred towards that one teacher, your last fight with your mom about those dishes you forgot to wash, and ask yourself: is it really worth it?
For many of the things on the list, the answer is going to be an immediate yes. Yes, of course going through the hell of dancing in front of the whole school wearing a bright green skirt is worth it because it makes it easier for me to become house captain. But is it really worth it to become House captain? Do you really want to spend your last year of school wearing the same colour ribbon every day, stressing over the number of 12-year-olds that joined the swimming gala and supervising knitting competitions? I don’t doubt the fact that for many of you, becoming house captains is a lifelong dream, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that, but I also don’t doubt the fact that many of us have spent our whole school lives stressing over something we want for all the wrong reasons. There are many things out there we are working really hard to get but don’t even know why. Is it worth it?
Take, for instance, the easiest example of them all: school classes. We all have to take them, do the exams and complete assignments, and I’m positive we all want to do well on them too. We live our whole lives thinking this is the only way to get into a good university and have a good future, and it is in this process that we make ourselves miserable studying for classes we couldn’t care less about. Well, I’m telling you to stop. Make a list of every single class you take in and out of school, rank them from best to worst, and just absolutely stop caring about all the ones you don’t like.
However, this isn’t a call to rebellion. I’m not inciting people to ditch school and join a hippie band. Just consider this: I hate math. I absolutely hate it with my life, and because of this, I know every single minute I spend studying for this horrid class is going to be one more minute of agony for me. So what should I do? Easy, stop studying. Whenever I get a test or homework, I will work just hard enough to pass. In class, I will pay attention and be respectful, but never really work hard enough to become somebody known for being a really good student in that class. If I fail a test, instead of feeling sorry for myself for having spent the whole night watching Netflix instead of studying, I will be glad I got to have a peaceful night for myself instead of having a meltdown at one in the morning and still failing the exam. By doing this, not only am I getting rid of the huge stress this class is for me, but I also get to free my schedule to study for classes I do enjoy, like history.
The thing is that at the end of the day, we never know where we are going to end up. We could live to be 100 years old or we could die in the next two seconds, and if we were spending our last moments on Earth right now, wouldn’t you rather be watching Friends than studying the Theorem of Pythagoras for the 100th time? Wouldn’t you prefer to be eating a cheesy pizza rather than be running in a treadmill to lose those few pounds you are obsessing over? Wouldn’t you rather listen to that grungy band you love rather than those popular songs you detest? Life is way too short to spend it caring about things that don’t fulfil us, so why should we?
And I know right now we all probably have a little alarm going off in our heads screaming that if we were to follow this advice we will NEVER be able to get into a good university right?
Well, this brings me to part 2 of The Revolutionary Art of Not Caring About Anything You Don’t Want to Care About:
Debunking The Well-Rounded Student Myth
We have all heard it. We have all been tormented by it. And unknowingly we have all probably rigged our lives to try to fulfill the impossible task of being THE well-rounded student that is the dream of all universities. Well, sorry to break it to you but this is all a big fat lie.
Don’t believe me? Well let’s apply some common sense. Imagine there are two students applying to college X. Student A’s record is filled with everything you could possibly imagine: good grades in every subject, good involvement in school activities, a couple of sports, and a medal in one or two different contests here and there. However, student B’s record is a totally different story. He has year after year of competing and winning every single math award and competition you could possibly imagine. Sure, his grades in History and English are only average, and his involvement with school activities that have nothing to do with maths are inexistent. But for any college a student who is so passionate at a certain field, and has shown how good they are at it, is worth a million well-rounded students who have no clear path and excel at nothing other than participating.
Of course there is nothing wrong in being enthusiastic with school activities and wanting to get the most of the school experience. What’s wrong is feeling forced to do so. The best advice anybody can ever give you is to just be yourself, and if you are a naturally lazy person who only cares about Doctor Who activities and knitting, then knit away and be completely sure that no matter what your math grade is, or how many GHMs you get, nobody is ever going to be able to take those hours of Doctor Who-knitting happiness from you.
So, to make a short story short: have fun, don’t do anything that doesn’t make you 100% happy if you can avoid it, and don’t force yourself to give your 100% at activites you don’t care about. Life simple, live happy and thank me later. 😉