“What are you doing this weekend?”
“Studying, I think. Might take some classes and head to the gym. You?”
“Studying again? Come on, come out with us! It’ll be sooooo much more fun.”
“Eh, I don’t think so. I’m not up for it.”
“Ugh, you’re so boring. Whatever, I’ll see you at practice.”
High school is a jungle and like a jungle, high schoolers subsist on all levels. The colourful, feathered birds perched on top of the tallest trees are the “cool” ones. Showy, loud, and constantly above the others, they soar high above the trees, searching for their next prey to pick on—to screech at, to annoy. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the insects that scurry across the jungle floor, hidden and unseen they go about their lives just trying to survive the hellhole that is the jungle.
For those who feel as small as the insect just trying not to get trampled on, remember that this ecosystem would not survive without you. You are not just “another one”, you are you. And just like the birds that screech and fly and get all the attention, you are part of the ecosystem. Yes, the birds might be more easily seen, might be more “attractive”, but the world can’t exist with them alone.
This is for every single student that has felt small, diminished, or invisible in the world where high schoolers who go out and party still get opportunities because of who they are and who they know. This if for the kid who spent the night in studying or hanging out with friends at home instead of smoking, drinking and getting “lit”. This is for you. It’s hard to see and understand while you’re still tangled in the roots of the jungle—trust me, I know. But the fact is that all those nights you spent being “nerdy” practicing the cello or playing chess with your friends makes you a much more interesting person than the person who spent their nights gossiping or stumbling down the hill to a club. It makes you someone worth talking to. You’re not “dull” just because you aren’t showy, loud or outgoing. You’re not a “nerd” because you enjoy reading books over painting your nails. And you’re not “uncool” because that’s what high school has labelled you as. In fact, you’re cooler than them all because one day someone will ask you about yourself and you’ll have something to say. And, at the end of that day, guess what? You will be the one who makes real connections with the world and those around you.
So don’t give the birds the attention. Focus on you, on making yourself interesting. Pursue your passions, trust your instincts. The jungle needs each and every unique being, big or small, loud or quiet, to function. Easier said than done but all you can do is try and, if you’re doing that, you will be okay.