And that’s okay.
Following all the success and craziness from myCryptoHippo everyone kept asking me:
“What are you going to do next? What project are you working on? Are you continuing your company? Are you building a new one?”
It was overwhelming, to say the least.
I felt the constant pressure to keep doing something better and building something even cooler to meet the expectations people had for me based on what I achieved before.
In grade 11, I was able to get away with missing school sometimes and prioritizing other things over my grades. But grade 12 is when everything hit like a truck. I had my IB extended essay, standardized tests, university applications, and a much harder course load, including the worst of them all, Higher Level Chemistry.
So I started to let go of a few things. This was honestly one of the hardest decisions I had to make. I stopped Junior Achievement, my school newspaper, and coding. I didn’t even compete in DECA this year, I simply worked on training my chapter instead, even though a huge part of me wanted to go all out since it was my last year.
A good part of my senior year was pretty miserable, not going to lie. It was a stark contrast, going from someone who used to bounce around to club meetings every lunch period to barely having anything to do except study. I realized that I let go of the things that made me the happiest. Junior Achievement, in particular, was where I met some of my best friends and I felt so empowered after every meeting being surrounded by such driven and like-minded people.
However, I found that there were other things that fulfilled me too. With all that time I had for reflection and learning, I started to do more speaking engagements this year, talking about the impact and growth I’ve had from the projects I’ve done in the past. Although I wasn’t competing myself in things like DECA, there was something special about seeing a grade 9 I trained to grow into a business leader, when they didn’t know anything at all about the field.
Last year, I received a lot of mentorship, and I still am. But this year, I started to give back and be a mentor myself and do things like teaching at kids learning code workshops, speaking at events, and helping students at my school. I’m still trying to find a balance between both: teaching and working on my own projects.
People knew me as the girl that could do everything. But really, there’s so much going on behind the scenes. Although I’ve let go of a couple of things, people still think I did a lot.
We live in a society where people boast about how busy they are. My peers at school always talked about how little sleep they got because they were cramming for a test like it was an accomplishment. And then it turned into a competition of who was running on the least amount of sleep.
We have all those articles that make us strive for perfection. They tell you the secret of how to do it all: friends, family, grades, + career…but in reality, there is no one size fits all approach. There is no secret. Take care of yourself, mentally, physically, and do things that make you happy.
We talk about things like “hustling” and how “the grind never stops”. If you asked me? The grind is bullshit. Work-life balance is also bullshit.
We’re always in this “go go go” mindset. We’re always looking for the next place to go, the next opportunity, rather than enjoying the present moment. We forget to look up from our phones or take off our headphones to experience what’s in front of us.
We look at something like a subway as simply a vehicle to get us somewhere rather than something we can gain value from in the process. I think I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with random people on the subway (sorry mom). I’ve realized I’ve taken such a small thing like this for granted and learned that this small metal grey car is filled with stories, diverse perspectives, and purpose. I never would’ve been able to enjoy the little things like these if I didn’t stop and take things in for a second.
I don’t regret taking things slow this year. It was a good year for reflection, growth, and realizing what I wanted to do. Grade 12 is probably one of the most transitional years of your life when you’re moving on to a new chapter. It was good to be able to spend more time with family and friends since I’m leaving home for university next year. If you’re in a similar spot in your life, I’d suggest taking a breather too.
If you asked me what my greatest achievement is this year? I’m going to say it’s getting that Diamond pizza poutine near my house at least 10 times. Damm, I’m going to miss it.
It’s okay to take things slow. Reflect. Live in the moment. Take in your surroundings. And never apologize for it.