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September 14, 2009

Finding your place ... 

By Janani Ramachandran

Reporter, Youth Journalism International

BANGALORE, India  High school can undoubtedly be a daunting place. Amidst a sea of hundreds or thousands of students, in a brand new school, in a flood of academic rigor, social pressure, and so much more, finding ones individuality is often difficult.

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Although I am now a senior in high school, confident and happy where I am, it takes time to find your niche, your space where you can truly shine.

Everybody, absolutely everyone, has talents.

High school is that time of your life where you can really discover yourself, what you are good at and what you are perhaps not so good at.

Even if you go into high school expecting to be a basketball star, or getting lead parts in the spring musicals, prepare to be disheartened at first.

You often realize the immense amount of talent out there, and that youre perhaps not all that that you thought you were in middle school.

But the key to a successful four years is NOT to be disheartened and lose interest in your passions. Pursue them with vigor!

At the same time, after a point you should realize that maybe things you thought were your strengths may not actually be, but rather, you may turn out to be a star at some activity you never imagined before.

There are, of course, two different ends of the spectrum those who are lazy and dont want to be involved in anything, and those who spread themselves thin.

This is virtual suicide, and not only will you be running yourself up the wall running on caffeine and not sleep, you will also lose your passion for those few activities you hold dear to your heart.

And while it is important to keep college applications in sight, never do any activity just to put on your resume. Never do anything just for the sake of doing it, but because you want to do it.

Balancing these extra-curriculars along with academics and a social life can also be a challenge. They are all important parts of the education process, and will all lead you far in life, but it will undoubtedly take time and effort. Recognize what all is important to you.

You will find your place, just like I did. Im now a high school senior. I moved to India in my freshman year, and currently attend an international school.

Ninth grade was perhaps my most challenging year, especially because I was in a new country and I had to adjust to a new education system.

It was an entirely new culture, and Ive grown to accept it, enjoy it, and flourish in it.

Ive realized my talents in activities such as Model UN, vocal music, and volunteering, and have finally found the right balance between these and my rigorous academics and spending quality time with my family and friends.

As I begin my final year of high school, Im happy and confident, doing things that I excel in and that I love.

So be yourself, and youll find your place to shine!

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