Jyotsna Bitra (‘16) submitted this article as part of our annual Seniors Speak series. This series is designed to give seniors who are leaving a final opportunity to share their voice and preserve the traditions and experience of IMSA’s seniors alive long after they’ve graduated. Jyotsna lived in 1506 and spent her senior year doing the thankless job of directing the Student Committee for IMSA Advancement’s (SCIA) legislative activities
I love people.
I don’t just mean I love helping people or talking to people but people as a whole.
I love that people can be so raw and fake; different on the inside and out. One personality to the world and another at home. Popular, pretty and confident at school and insecure, troubled and concerned in a bedroom. Human beings are beautiful creatures. We have these features and traits that make us so likable and unlikable at the same time. We are subjective and curious. We are lazy and brilliant. We create and destroy. We humiliate and encourage. We are sweet and demonic.
We are oxymorons.
At IMSA, there is a certain stigma of “gods” and “pros”. They are those who ace their classes effortlessly or seem to win everything they try. But underneath this outer layer of perfection lies an inner complex layer filled with stress and pressure and everything we experience but do not see. We need to understand that there are faults in everyone. Their success comes from hard work, persistence and of course, luck. I am not denying that some people are simply luckier than others. But do not let that define your value as less. Do not blindly accept that these people are better than you. Appreciate their work and their intelligence, but strive to improve yourself. Use them as motivation to move forward. Never simply accept that people are better than you and sulk beneath them. No. Do the opposite, challenge them, talk to them, get to know them instead of simply putting a label on them. Understand who they are and grow stronger. Rather than envy them, use them as inspiration to build your own character.
I’d be lying if I said that now I’m completely okay when I see that others are superior to me. But perhaps I have come to accept the fact that I’ll always be somewhere in middle. And you probably will be too. There are far too many intelligent people in the world to choose one best and move on – but that’s how it is.
The vast majority of people at IMSA are not in the top 1%. So what about the other 99%? What happens to them? I have said it before, as many others have, and I will say it again, but we are all here for a reason. We MUST realize that everyone here is intelligent in different ways.
According to my AP Psychology flashcards, intelligence is the ability to gather and use information in productive ways. As you can see, it is not some letters on a transcript or the number of clubs you are on or the colleges you got into. I absolutely love my friends. But they do not all get straight A’s. That does not mean they are not intelligent. I know and value each one of their abilities. Some of my friends devote their lives to robotics or the yearbook, while others work long hours on Student Council or in the arts. Some are natural leaders while others are quiet, introverted and hard-working. Some are going to Ivies while others are going to small liberal arts schools. Who are you to judge their degrees of intelligence?
However, there exists a difference between those who are intelligent yet don’t apply themselves and those who are intelligent and push to create change, regardless of the varying levels of intelligence. I think everyone has the option of “succeeding” in life, but many people just settle for average. IMSA has taught us to use our extra-curriculars beyond the realm of IMSA and use our knowledge and confidence to propel themselves into schools, businesses and other work. These are the most fulfilled people – and you can be one too.
Human beings are complicated. And we thrive. Continuously. I believe the human body is ingrained with one idea, to never ever stop fighting. When the brain shuts down, your body shuts down. That’s it. Everything in this world is a mental game.
There are people with mental illnesses who fight to get through each day. There are billionaires who feel unfulfilled or unsuccessful. There are gifted teenagers in prestigious colleges who just flunked their math test. All of these people feel like they are in hell, but in different ways. Pain is eternal but we deal with it and let pleasure overcome it. I want to make you happier. I want to learn your flaws and build new characteristics on them. I don’t want to cover them up but make you better by adding strengths. IMSA is built on a foundation of collaboration. You can build yourself into a character of goodness. Heart, body, mind and soul all at once. We are all. We control all.
We just don’t know it yet.