Without Struggle There is No Progress
“Don’t you realize that high school is a social hierarchy?” This is a direct quote from my best friend from my previous high school when I visited during my final exam week in early May. Since I had left my previous high school to attend a collegiate program, I had completely forgotten about the foreboding world of being in high school. At the time I thought she was kidding, but later that day I really started to think about her words. She had described the different cliques from the “kings and queens” to the “undesirables.” Now I know we’ve all seen those overdramatic movies such as “High School Musical” and “Not Another Teen Movie” that portray teenagers as vicious gossiping bullies, and from my friend’s description these movies were pretty accurate.
As she continued to describe the atrocities of the “breezeway,” I had a flashback to the corridors of my old high school. I remember fellow students being shoved and jostled and I remember crying my eyes out during passing periods because of my conflicting adolescent emotions. However, I dug deeper into my subconscious and pulled out pleasant memories of school pep rallies and laughter filled lunches. It was ironic that some of my most bitter memories of my early adolescence were accompanied by sweet memories of comradeship. And finally a sharp vision of perception struck me: high school is hard, and not to mention confusing. Of course all high school students say this, but let me place emphasis on this: High school is really hard. Students are striving to please their parents, make good grades, fit in with their peers, and at the same time they struggle to find who they truly are. This epiphany and my similar struggle with my identity is what made me realize that these teenagers needed a guiding hand and an outlet to express all their concerns. And I was going to be that outlet.
In 2012 I have gained some amazing perspective on my life and what I want to do to help the world; the realization struck me that I am meant to be a star instead of just one of the mass. I decided that I needed to be more than a consumer and a strong part of me longed to give back to my community and just to life in general. I wonder what most teenagers see when they reflect within themselves. I wonder if, like me, they see their past mistakes turned into essential life lessons or if they speculate on how they can help the world. When I reflect within myself I see so much progress to be made and yet so much potential to be shared and that is why I will do everything in my power to make a difference.
I combined my love for helping others with my desire to share my past experiences and I decided that I want to start a non-profit organization called Progress. I want to help lead young girls and boys to knowledge and let them know that we are not only a product of our circumstances because life is what you make it. Anyone can turn their life around, because each day is a new day. I want to give these adolescents hope and I want to encourage them to be different and responsible even though it may not be the “cool” thing.
I yearn to travel from school to school talking about finding your identity within yourself not your peers. I believe that I was given this wisdom at such a young age in order to share it with others, instead of hoarding it within my heart and mind. What is the point of learning a lesson from your past if you can’t help improve someone else’s future? To this day starting Progress has been my biggest dream. I know that one day I will influence adolescents who are struggling with identity crisis towards a life of progress and individuality instead of deterioration and conformity. I will help these students to be able to say, “High school was the best years of my life,” and actually mean it. Hopefully I can instill hope into these teenagers so they never give up, no matter how bleak life is looking. And above all else I will help them live by this quote: Without struggle there is no progress; and without progress there is no success.