Congratulations on the first day of your class 10th. I’m that wiser, albeit an over-weight person you will one day become. Till you become me, you have to slog in class 10th, class 12th, crack myriad engineering entrance exams, get a degree in engineering, get a job, make many memos and presentations that make you curse Microsoft Office, go through many meetings where you doodle poetry, crack CAT, get into your dream B-school and experience your share of good times and bad times. Let me not spoil it by telling you all that is in store, so if you’re expecting me to tell you exactly what lies ahead, you’re in for a disappointment.
However, here are some tips on what I wished I had done or perhaps done earlier, and what you can still do.
Live in your present: Enjoy the moment and the feeling of freedom that comes with being in school. Just keep in the back of your mind that one day you’ll realize that the best days of your life are the ones that you have spent in school. Don’t crave for the freedom of college. It comes at a cost.
Take sports seriously: You have all the time in school to try out different sports. Pick one that you like and be passionate about it. It’ll come to rescue in later stages of life to get rid of stress and it’ll help you stay fit.
Follow your passion: Do not follow the herd. Pursue the field that you are genuinely interested in. Don’t take up science just because your friends are taking it. Commerce or Arts might turn out to be your thing.
Break ups are not the end of the world: You will have crushes, you will fall in love and you might think that it will last forever. It seldom does at this age. Avoid getting into a relationship at this point of time. Save it for your 20’s. You feel you are mature enough to handle them, trust me, you are not.
Listen to your parents: This is the age when your hormones start messing up and you suffer terrible mood swings and you turn into a rebel. You will understand once you grow up that your parents were right all throughout your adolescence when they asked you to avoid a certain company of friends or stay back late to party. At your age you thought your parents are conservative and they don’t really understand you. On the contrary they have the best intentions in mind for you and they are the ones who’ll always be by your side when things hit rock bottom.
Don’t be so tough on your parents: One day, you will be a parent yourself and every time you screw up, you’ll empathize with them and realize that being a good parent is a hard thing to do.
Avoid junk food: Junk food will only hamper with your health and mess with the hormonal changes your body is under-going. Eat more green leafy vegetables even if you hate them, eat pulses, protein rich food and avoid oily and processed stuff.
Don't care too much about what others think of you: What others think of you is none of your business. Stay happy, stay cheerful, and avoid having negative people around you. Also, your body will undergo many changes, accept them with grace. Don’t get too conscious and spend a lot of time before mirror. Trust me your physical appearance has got nothing to do with how successful and popular you become later in life.
Volunteer enough: Be an active participant in extra-curricular, sports, and cultural events or for that matter anything that comes your way. This will imbibe in you the spirit of sportsmanship and will teach you the art of making friends.
Develop oratory skills: Don’t be shy of speaking in public. Try and increase your vocabulary. It’ll come handy in the later years of life. Participate in as many debates, jams, extempore as you can.
Take failure positively: You’ll face many failures in life and at times you’ll be tempted to blame it all on luck. Don’t ever do that. Stay true to yourself. Reflect on your shortcomings and keep improving yourself.
Pay more attention to learning than scoring marks: Marks and GPA are very important to succeed in life. But they are not the only thing sufficient to make it big. Concentrate more on learning instead of cramming and passing exams. Try and add value to yourself every day and reflect upon it once you hit bed. Make sure every day you have learnt something new and useful.
It’ll all be OK : You’ll screw up, you’ll be hurt, you’ll have bad days. But you know what, nobody owes you a happy life. You need to find things and people that make you happy. I write this letter to you surrounded by amazing friends in one of the top 10 B-schools of the country, a supportive family back home and a 4 year stable relationship with a caring boyfriend. Is everything perfect in my life? Not by a long shot. Has nothing gone wrong along the way? Of course, it has. But on balance, I think I’ve made more of a positive difference to those around me than not, and that’s what you’ll discover ultimately matters.Good luck with the next 10 years.