Keep Your Chin Up

By: Sonia Schmidt

Returning to school is a joyous occasion when your main worry is whether or not your crayon box is fully stocked, but when you matriculate to high school, somehow everything becomes a tad more intimidating. Even the most avid of learners would likely admit a certain degree of unease entering a new year. However, instead of immersing ourselves in these fears, woes, and self-pities,  we should proactively attempt to prepare ourselves, knowing that some days will be better than others. Here is a list of things that I like to keep in mind with each new year, and this goes beyond your typical “do your homework” spiels.

  1. In every unfortunate day, find something beautiful, or that makes you in awe of life; when we feel that everything seems to be falling to pieces, we must instead take the attitude that it is just changing shape.

    A. While yes, your day might have been awful, sent to you from the darkest places in the universe, there will be one thing that is worth appreciating and continuing to the next for. This could be as simple as the gloriousness of a sunrise or the soft tinkling of a bike's whistle. It could be hearing your friend laugh, or listening to that song you can’t get out of your head. Find it, and appreciate it. Feel it in your bones, and relish in it.
  2. That being said, on crappy days, let yourself feel crappy. There is no use fighting an emotion, because it will only make you feel worse. Mourn the day, find the one good thing, and allow yourself move on.

    A. If you didn’t get the grade you wanted, the spot on the team or in the show, or just generally if you feel as though you failed in an endeavor, know that your so-called failures do not suggest that you are somehow inadequate. Simply your process was inadequate, and process is most definitely something you can fix. Don’t try to fix yourself, you are whole.
  3. Search for the feeling of being content, rather than being happy.

    A. Happiness is often found in moments of our lives, in experiences, people or objects. Happiness can be fleeting. Instead try to find reasons that you appreciate your current situation, for whatever state it’s in. While yes we should always strive for better experiences, in order to enjoy our lives in the long run, or even just throughout school, we have to allow ourselves a certain degree of satisfaction with what we have achieved thus far.
 Sonia Schmidt

Sonia Schmidt


  1. Live unabashedly. Don’t deny yourself enthusiasm for the sake of being “cool.”

    A. If you want to proclaim your platonic love for a friend, do it. Recite your poetry, scream about your hopes and dreams and fears, tell your secrets and send the riskiest, most reckless text messages that make you worry that they’ll think you’re an emotional mess. Tell people that they made your day, tell people that they look lovely, tell people that the sound of their voice makes everything inside you go still with awe. Hiding any part of the magic and wonder of your person just isn’t worth it. I promise.
  2. “Do no harm, but take no shit.”

    A. While this advice is not my own, I think it’s a great motto to live by. Do not intentionally harm others; spare their feelings and their pride, whenever you can. But if someone attacks you, if someone makes you feel unworthy or unloved or insignificant, put a stop to it, either by ignoring them or confronting them. Confront them carefully, but do not stand there and allow yourself to be trampled.

Know that you can finish this year stronger than you have before. Know that you are worthy of success. Know that you mustn’t let pressure dim the light that undoubtedly shines from you.