Don’t know who you are? What you’re going to do? Why you’re doing something?
Welcome to live-your-best-life 101 – starring the procrastinator himself.
Some of you may not know me, and consider it to be but a mild joke – but those who do can guarantee without the smallest doubt that I procrastinate. Everything. Heavily.
I used to think it was a problem (I mean it’s certainly not a good thing, but it’s not the worst I could be). I used to believe that it was an uncharacteristic trait which needed to be removed. That I was a problem, needing to be fixed. Kind of disheartening, right?
And then I came into this class. Met Ms. Hunnisett. The other AP kids. And back then I thought “This is it. My procrastination HAS to stop if I want to be successful in this class.” Well, THAT didn’t happen – almost ironically, one of the most work-intensive classes only fueled my procrastination further. And it wasn’t the course. The people who allowed me to procrastinate (and may have regretted it after, right Ms. Hunnisett?) were doing so many things in those moments. Learning about me, helping me learn about myself. Accepting one’s nature is the greatest nurture.
The one thing about this class, specifically its members, that makes it so unique is that it isn’t number-based. I mean, of course you have to be graded in order to graduate – that’s just the fault of the system we’re in. But the class itself promotes growth in other ways, which naturally bring your academic capabilities forward, along with aspects I would consider far more valuable. Self love, empathy, critical thinking, understanding, companionship, etc, etc, etc. This class is a privilege – a blessing even.
And I’ll be honest, I could have done better academically. I could have put in hours of work, gotten much higher grades, been a stronger student. But that wasn’t my goal. That wasn’t what I was after when I joined this class. And that’s what I want you to avoid chasing, in general.
I know it may be hard to envision now, but there will come a time in your life where you will not be characterized by your grades. And it will be a lot earlier than you may expect. It won’t be your grades, or even your character. Okay, maybe a little bit of character, but the largest portion that you will be judged on will be your mind. Your thoughts. And at this point far too many misconceive a strong academic grade with a strong brain. But will anyone even remember that I had a 70 in grade 9 english? That 56 in leadership? Of course not – it’ll be how well spoken I was, or some of the things I said, the way I behaved. And at that time, even I didn’t know why I did what I did. That’s what AP is all about. Enlightenment of oneself is the greatest knowledge you’ll ever be able to obtain. Some live their lives without it, and let me tell you – they aren’t happy.
Some people think happiness and follow it with “So what?” or “It’s not permanent so why bother chasing it?” AP taught me that happiness is the only thing I should chase. And not just any happiness – to be happy with myself. Because you are your greatest critic, and it’s definitely a good thing to want to criticize yourself, to aim to improve. But incessant, unnecessary self-degradation will make it so you aren’t happy with yourself, or anything else. How will you be happy with anything if you can’t manage a smile because of who you are? You won’t be. How can you find happiness in others if you can’t find it in yourself? You can’t. But don’t be confused – it isn’t a bad thing to be unhappy. It just isn’t the best way for someone to want to live their life – who wants to be unhappy?
Unhappiness is not simply the lack of happiness. It is hatred, pain, and sorrow. Draining. It is undesirable. And to be unhappy with oneself is to not see the reasons to love. And that isn’t okay.
I, too, experienced this unhappiness. It is a pitiful and shameful way to live. All because I found my happiness in others. When the others went away (and there always comes a time of loneliness), I could not be happy. AP changed that.
For the first time in my life, I was accepted and loved as the Muhammad I was, rather than the Muhammad I was told I could be. I saw that when, even at my worst moments, I was held and loved and appreciated. All starting when Hunnisett told me “It’s okay, just get it in. I believe in you.” That’s when the healing started.
I’m not saying you should all procrastinate and hope you end up happy too. Please, for Hunnisett’s sake, get your work in as timely as possible. But do it your way. Because Hunnisett doesn’t want a thousand copies of Muhammad (God, just the thought of it), or Jieo, or Kelley, or Liam, or Ibukun, or Tarannum. And neither do we, as great as it would be to have all that excellence with every amazing person, the fact of the matter is that our individuality is what gives us our strengths. What sets us apart from all the others. And all you need to do, as future students, is not chase the grades, but pursue yourself. Pursue the discovery of why you want things the way you do. Why you do things in a particular manner. Hunnisett has this magical way of taking an individual and finding a way for them to fit in the system. She’s just a magical person, who deserves far more credit than she gets.
Please don’t demean yourself because of a bad test. Please don’t think you have to be a certain way to be accepted. Please don’t think you don’t deserve to be happy. We all do.
And if you aren’t right now, let this moment mark the start of a recovery. Of happiness.
I just want to quickly say that these last few years, AP has given me life in so many ways, and I plan to nurture myself the same way for the rest of my life. Thank you everyone, each and every soul who became a part of my family. You all mean so much to me, and I’ll never forget you.
Until next time, adieu. I love you all.