By Zuha Jaffar

Everyone tells you to focus on the important things, except what’s important has escaped my mind. Get good grades, get good test scores, this is the year to get it all right. But you’re sixteen years old, and life just gets so much harder from here so enjoy it. Don’t let school make you forget the things you love and ruin your passions. The pressure feels ridiculously high. Our lives depend on us doing well now, except they don’t. How am I supposed to know how to handle it? How is anyone? It’s a never-ending carousel inside my brain, and I still don’t know the answer.

I have yet to convince myself of these things. I have to constantly remind myself that things will be okay. But the pressure builds up so quickly that I find that all my motivation is lost. Why am I even trying if I haven’t done well in this class yet? What is the point? I am stuck in an endless spiral of my own thoughts, and I hate it. It isn’t the incredibly large amount of work I have now that makes me stressed. It’s this spiral, the loss of motivation from all the pressure, that makes me lose myself. I get lost in a maze of my own feelings that I forget about the real world. I forget about actually doing the work I need to do and spend hours letting my worries consume me. 

But I think that before anything else, I have to remember that it is okay to not have everything figured out, whether it is school or your personal life. Be happy with all the effort you’ve put in. You need to know you are trying your hardest, and that the work will pay off. But do not push yourself past your limits. Don’t let work consume who you are, and make you forget that you are a human who deserves to be happy. It’s easy to forget that sometimes.

Life is harder than it ever was before, but don’t let the pressure hurt how well you’ve been doing. The pressure is not as much as you think it is, I promise. I know that we are overcome with work. Our grades matter the most this year, but that does not mean that you need to take on unnecessary burdens and do perfectly all the time. We are not machines. We are humans, who get C’s on tests, who sometimes forget to be good friends, who get angry and sad and definitely aren’t perfect, that things always work out in the end. 

And although it may never seem to be, remember that everything will be okay.