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Probably it is school where I have felt every emotion of happiness, sadness, curiosity, anxiety, jealousy, success and failure.  It seems just like yesterday when I was crying because I did not want to attend the Sanskrit classes in my kindergarten. From that to getting chosen to represent my class in Upper Kindergarten (UKG) elocution to topping my Class X exams, it has been 12 years now of defraying the the notion that school is a burdensome place, where you are forced to go. For me, it is a new world altogether, a new stage, a new beginning, a new life lesson.  It is a place that has nourished me after my family and has made me strong enough to face the real world. It has shaped me into a good individual.

Apart from academics there are a lot of things that complete the definition of education such as discipline, to give respect, leadership quality, extra-curricular activities.

School provides the most comfortable platform to express ourselves because it is a place where everyone is in a learning phase. There is no one to judge us.

I understood this fact much later. In the beginning of my school life I had a very reticent personality as far as participation is concerned. Some of the most bizarre questions lingered in my mind such as  " What if I forget my lines? What if something awkward happens? How will I face it? What if I am unable to make an impact?" These were a few hurdles that had stopped my growth; they had caged me. I was unable to take a step forward because I had surrounded myself with such an environment. Then one day, out of the blue, I asked myself the question below:

How would you leave your footprint on that stage when you never stood there?

Yes, you might say that that was a turning point and now I have everything sorted. That is not the truth though. Of course I was successful in my first level but that was not the end. It was now tough to break into that crowd because a lot of my batch mates had already made their mark and position in that field. I would not say it was favoritism; of course they worked hard to reach that level but now it was hard to participate because the auditions were mostly in favor of them. What I am proud of, is that this did not stop me from trying. I did work hard and made it (not to the top because I believe that there is a vast ocean of knowledge yet to be gained by me).

Even the slightest of the interest that I have explored has helped me to build my personality. Dancing, taught me to express myself without words; MUN- NING (Model United Nations) brought me close to the world scenario; debating helped me to widen my perspective; elocution taught me to feel someone else's state; poetry taught me to explore the deeper meaning of things in a few words. In short, all these skills coached me to come out of my comfort zone and explore every bit of this life. This made me believe that school is the primary place that shapes a person for the rest of his life. It just depends on us whether we are able to grasp the opportunity or not because the world is full of opportunities.

As far as senior school life is concerned it is like dune bashing, full of ups and downs. Rather, it was a quick change from the happy-go-lucky life of middle school to a hectic one, with a lot of competition. I have always regarded it as an 'alarm clock' that made me understand the fact that life thereafter is not easy. It was a phase where we challenged ourselves rather than others. But, I have to agree that it is the best of time, it is the worst of time. It is a phase where friends have turned into family, teachers as parents and school as a second home. Do not give up till you achieve your goal. Don't leave any possibility of regret at the end. Never think that you are weak, just believe in yourself and keep going.  Try not just focusing on your percentage but also introspect yourself at times.

Marks do not exist for long in the real world.

I have always said to myself "I CAN AND I WILL". I have always tried to fill my mind with positive energy and surround myself with positive people who bring out the best in me. I feel that our strength lies in our acceptance of the fact that I am unique and can do whatever I desire. As far as my future aspirations are concerned I have never been vocal about them; because like every other kid even I am in a state of confusion. I have always been a person who aspires to make my family proud; to serve my nation with no selfish motive; to evolve as a strong human being with love and compassion for all. I know, it might sound absurd that my future aspirations are like no other kid, but I believe that when I will acquire all the above motives, I will be able to think beyond this.

I will cherish all the memories that I have and will make in the coming years in this second home. Last but not the least whatever I am today and will be tomorrow is because of my family, who were and will always be there for me through thick and thin; my friends who motivated me all the time and had faith in me when even I did not believe in myself. I promise to grow as a good individual and make each one of them proud.

Sonakshi Maheshwari secured 98.2% in ICSE examinations 2020. She has currently opted for Science stream with Mathematics. Besides academics, she is an international level dancer, with immense love for poetry. She is very keen and curious to learn new things and tries to explore every possible interest.  She was also awarded a walk of excellence in the field of dancing and has her own dance page.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author.

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