Essay of the Year

2016 is the first year when IAGC gave IAGC scholarship and IAGC awards to high school kids who participated and completed the scholarship criteria. Winner of the 2016 IAGC scholarship was Harnish Makkar. IAGC award winner was Nidhi Patel.

Winning assay for the IAGC scholarship for 2016.

Original topic (What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give to a younger sibling or a friend?)

Seven Years

The clock strikes midnight. Happy birthday! At 13, you have finally hit those big kid years. In reality, you do actually become a big kid, but not the way you expect. Teenage years are important for a huge number of reasons. It brings a sense of self and establishes your personality  We decide what we will be as an adult, what we want to learn, where to go to college, what we like and don’t like, how we mature. It’s a physiological and psychological springboard into adulthood.  The teenage years is the time when reality sets in, we have to untangle the web of chaos and set our priorities. Teenage years are a time of physical, mental, and social growth. A time where you are making more of your own choices.  We decide what we want to become when we grow up and get exposed to new things and experience.  We get our driving permits and voter cards. There are a plethora of advantages to life as a teen, but equally as many drawbacks. Students tend to begin high school during the early stages of their teenage years and graduate in the final few. The high school acts as a medium of growing into an adult from a teen a place for teens to choose their own future, but also to learn and understand the consequences of their decisions.

In our fast paced, technological lives, time management remains a vital concern for people of all ages, especially for teenagers. The life of a typical 9 or 10-year-old boy consists of finishing one or two worksheets the teacher assigned for homework, catching up on the new TV episodes of SpongeBob, and maybe bike riding with a few friends. Ask a teenage student this same question and the list would be endless. Teenagers these days have more stresses than ever. A typical 17 years old takes around seven classes a day consisting of one or two AP classes, volunteers for some school organization after school, plays varsity soccer, and works at the local Chick-Fil-A until closing. This multitude of responsibilities requires time management skills, which most teenagers are lacking. Teenagers end up setting faulty priorities based on what they desire most, not what holds more significance in the long run. Sometimes, the Friday night football game feels more important than helping out at the local animal shelter, or watching The Purge the night before the pre-calculus test seems more thrilling than getting an A. As a high school graduate, I know which option holds more value in the future because of my previous mistakes, but most teenagers do not realize this. Time management is an essential skill as, it helps ease the stress and anxiety. Kids with better time management perform to the best of their capabilities. Some of us have a natural inclination in managing time than others but, this can be developed with guidance and practice. The failure to manage time wisely leads to overwhelming school pressure, which could lead to prescription drug overuse and even dropping out of high school. Thus, the inability to manage time misguides teenagers to a point of where it is very difficult to come back from.

On the flip side, there are many positives to being a teenager in today’s world. Teenagers have access to more opportunities than any other age group, especially in high school. High schools offer a variety of career-oriented classes in order to help students achieve. As a result, most teenagers choose a major and begin to pursue it at an early age. They take certain prerequisites based on their major, and by the time college starts, teens have a plan for their future endeavors. High school sports also play a significant role in the school life. All students are encouraged to play at least one sport as an extracurricular activity. The involvement in any sports helps develop various personal traits like perseverance, responsibility, teamwork, physical endurance, commitment, time management, and personal and emotional health. Your commitment to making it to all practices, pledging to give 100% effort, learning to work well with others makes you dependable and responsible. Involvement in these extra-curricular activities not only helps you train in time management but also helps fight off depression and reduces stress. Research clearly demonstrates when a person has more responsibilities, they develop better time management skills, accomplish more, and maintains a high-performance level in academics, sports and in life. Playing high school sports give you an advantage in the job market. Practically having these skills and involvement in activities other than academics helps in getting more scholarships and less burden financially when you are ready to face the world after completing your college education.

Also, many high schools have different types of leadership classes and organizations. For example, my high school had two yearlong classes called Leadership. In this class, students assume roles to help benefit their school and their school experience. Students can volunteer for different organizations, set up festivals for the schools, assist in coordinating sports games, etc. Volunteering is good for you and can have a positive effect on your own community. It’s a win- win proposition where you feel good because you’re helping others, and others feel good because they’re being helped. Sometimes volunteering can help you learn more about yourself and guide you on a path to your future career. In addition, you develop communication skills, gain new insights in life, get academic credits, demonstrate commitment, and make a difference. All in all, teenagers have more direction as to what they want and can explore other options as well.

As I have lived through my teenage years, I have both good and bad experiences. Some I would like to change and some I have learned from. The advice I would give to a younger sibling or friend who is about to enter his or her teenage years would be; teenage years are a foundation and a primary step toward the life-long goals. Make good friends and know which friendships to cut and which ones to keep. Pick your battles as they can have a lifelong effect on your development as a person. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. A little help goes a long way and can save you lots of trouble, which would otherwise hold you back. Decide what is better for you. Avoid peer pressure. Set your own goals and achieve them. The Teenage years are the years of experimentation to explore the vast opportunities and options and to explore in and outside of comfort zones creating new boundaries beyond your normal interest. On the other hand, these years can cause of a waste of great possibilities if issues like time management are not addressed correctly. As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true” means you are the only person who decides what you want to make of your life and you are only one who will make it happen. In conclusion, either positive or negative, these seven years become the foundation of what you will be doing as soon as you reach your 20s and in your life ahead.

Past Winners:

  1. Ajay Sood
  2. Pooja Seth
  3. Kirti Hasija
  4. Sandeep Dabra
  5. Puneeth Seth
  6. Phillip Kurian
  7. Sawali Dinesh Sarvate
  8. Avjit Duggal
  9. Vardhan Vasuki
  10. Vivek Vasuki
  11. Tracy Tholanikunnel
  12. Ashwin Bhat
  13. Meera Duggal
  14. Sheryas Kousik
  15. Medha Chandorkar
  16. Rohan Shirali
  17. Nandita Karmbelker
  18. Harsh Sharma
  19. Vaibhav Mohanty