Teen Tales: A New Chapter

By Oi In Lin 2021-10-21 16:08:00

Whether it be middle school, high school, or university, everyone’s either excited or horrified at the prospect of a new school year. I’m sure such sentiments are familiar to many, but I’ve learned that neither mindset does anything for anyone in the long run.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but if it has taught me anything, it would be that there’s no point in dreading or overhyping a new year. Don’t set insane expectations, because life never goes the way you want it to, and getting used to disappointment isn’t fun. For better or for worse, things might or might not change. Don’t get caught up in the ‘what-ifs” that you have no control over, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative. Just relax, roll with the punches, and punch back when you need to.

Despite coming to such a conclusion, it’s still a struggle for me to actually ‘go with the flow’. You’d think that someone who finished IB during COVID-19 at its worst would have adapted to that mindset already, but nope! With university looming right around the corner, my negativity is at an all-time high. I’m going to be alone in a new environment with zero clue about what I’m going to do. How could anything possibly go right?!

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a pessimist riddled with anxiety, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of my worries. Luckily, I’ve grown used to dealing with these kind of thoughts throughout secondary school, so I try to remind myself of certain things to stay grounded.

Firstly, grades aren’t the be all and end all of everything. As long as I’ve tried my best, that’s all I can ask of myself, regardless of the results. Never let anyone else tell you that you didn’t, because the only thing you’ll gain from those words is an eventual cycle of guilt and self-deprecation.

Secondly, you can’t excel at everything, so you should just enjoy the process of whatever you’re doing. Make achievable goals, no matter how insignificant they may seem, because a small victory is still a victory. It’s a harsh truth that my perfectionist self is still coming to terms with.

Last but not least, and most importantly, live in the present. The world doesn’t stop for anyone, and it’ll feel like we’re just walking forward with no end-goal in sight, but don’t forget to rest and take in your surroundings. Live the way you want to and to the fullest, even if it’s daunting, so you don’t look back with regrets.

I’ll be doing my best to navigate these uncharted waters, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey, too. Don’t give up, friends. We can do this. 


Oi In Lin, 19, has lived in Shanghai for the past 15 years. She’s always found with a cup of good coffee and is either video gaming, practicing music, or eternally sobbing over writer’s block.