Let’s Lift Each Other Up

Listening in to students’ perspectives is an essential element of the work we do at Challenge Success to support student well-being and engagement with learning. We’re happy to share one student’s experience of how she is handling the stress and pressure of high school life. 

Have you ever felt out of place wherever you went? Have you ever felt like there’s no one you can relate to and get close to? 

I felt that way every day of eighth grade and freshman year of high school. While it was cut short due to the quarantine, freshman year presented a lot of challenges – some that I never got the chance to overcome. I fell victim to my own insecurities, believing every bad thing I said about myself. I pushed myself to do cross country, competitive Lincoln Douglas debate, and compete in the National Economics Challenge, but I never gave myself the chance to actually find myself or figure out what mattered to me. Rushing from class to class, never taking the time to live in the moment, eventually took a toll on me.  

On top of that, I was feeling alienated by my current friend group. I felt completely lost. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me the time I desperately needed to reflect on who I wanted to be. No longer pushing myself to fit in to the group allowed me to find myself. The lonely days sitting in the library gave me the opportunity to read, reflect, and explore my passions. 

When I finally quit debate, quit cross country, and stopped trying so hard to fit in, I learned about the world around me. A sudden epiphany in the middle of the night gave rise to a plethora of ideas that would soon become a website and a podcast. I met a compassionate girl who introduced me to her friend group, and then I figured out how to be myself and also fit in. Watching TikTok into the wee hours of the night finally became a long distant memory. I no longer felt bad about myself and my looks. School still is and will always be a challenge, but I know that I can manifest my dreams if I keep on working towards it. Being alone and going through hardship taught me that. 

My parents and great uncle taught me that life is not just a numbers game where the winners take all the money and the fame. It is a wonderful journey we all get to take, holding hands with our loved ones and supporting them when they fall. We take this journey together, and we leave together. Life is beautiful, and we should be thankful for the life we are given.  

I am just an average high school freshman, who has had her fair share of friendship drama, stress from peer pressure, and overdue homework. I have learned things the hard way, by failing, losing friends, and embarrassing myself in front of a crowd of people. All of my experiences in high school drama has taught me one thing: we need to support each other! 

Lifting each other up and celebrating our differences are two of the many ways us teenagers can have the best high school experience. To create a community of loving and uplifting teenagers, I started LIFE OF TEEN and TeenTalkB4Bed

LIFE OF TEEN is an online publishing platform for teenagers to submit their thoughts and experiences with maintaining wellness. It allows for any teen to create an account, interact with others’ posts, and express themselves through writing articles.  

TeenTalkB4Bed is a podcast meant to help teens get a good sleep while also receiving helpful and effective tips and tricks to maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. 

By facing hardship and loss, I realized that my purpose in life is to create something bigger than myself. The podcast and website are the fruits of my labor. To other students, all I ask from you is to learn from my mistakes and be grateful for what you have. Take advantage of the resources given to you, and appreciate yourself for everything that you are. Always take quality over quantity when it comes to relationships, and stay away from toxic and jealous people. Let’s lift each other up and create a beautiful, inspiring community.

Khushi Nigam is a high school student from San Jose, California. She is the creator of lifeofteen.com and the host TeenTalkB4Bed