For Students Who Feel High School Is ‘Not Your Thing’, You Need To Read This

This is for all those people who have entered high school, who have passed high school or are currently, in high school.

One thing that I’ve learned in high school is that it is the most stressful period of your life. This is the time you either break or make your career. The decisions you make affect your tomorrow. The people you spend time with help you turn into the person you become. In high school, you undergo a lot of changes, a lot of emotional, physical, mental, educational and social changes. You make new friends, your focus is different, your priorities are different. You get into relationships (or maybe not). But this is the phase which affects you for a long period of time. People don’t usually forget what happens in high school. And many years later, if you meet your friends, it’s likely that they will call you by the nickname they gave you.

What happens in high school? 

You tend to get overwhelmed with almost everything you do. This is the time where you are the ‘seniors’ of the school, and you basically know how the school functions. You’re the role model to your juniors. You’re the one who knows the teachers the best. You know almost everyone on the working staff. You know how to talk your way out of situations. Some of you are even teacher’s pets.

But this article is not for all those people who never bothered to indulge in gossip. This article is for those who listen to the gossip, passed it on, ruined someone’s life. This article is also for those who were bullied. This article is for those who’ve perhaps been through a bad phase of high school. This article is for all those people who thought that high school is not ‘their thing.’ And most importantly, this article is for all those people who were those bullies, who spread rumours, who tried to pull other people down, and who tried to make life “miserable” for others.

What are these bad phases? And why do they affect our lives so much? 

These bad phases are emotionally draining, mentally challenging, physically tiring and socially unacceptable. Ever been one of those people who landed up in an unpleasant situation just because you decided to be nice? Being nice can land you up in unpleasant situations. Believe me when I say it because I’ve seen it all.

Are you nice to creepy stalkers? Are you nice to those who talk rudely to you? Are you nice to those who gossip stuff to you or about you? Being nice is actually pretty good unless it puts you in a situation where you feel like killing yourself. Yes, I’m talking about those phases where you’re too nice to people who try and approach you.

Been there? Many of us have. And if you’ve not, congratulations, you’ve saved yourself from one heck of a misery in high school. Don’t worry, there must be something you could relate to, later.

I have seen many people who are nice to other people. One thing I would like to state is that there is a difference between being nice and flirting. Do not think people who are being nice to you are flirting with you.

Flirting is when a person is interested in you and shows signs that they are interested in you. People who are nice are just being polite.

1. If you are a guy who approached a girl because she’s pretty or because you like her (Oh! You like her because she flirted with you, she may have been polite, but you don’t know the difference)  understand, that she may, or may not be interested in you. Just because she is a good friend of yours doesn’t mean she wants to get into a relationship with you. One thing you must learn is that consent is key. You are supposed to know your boundaries. You are supposed to know when to stop. It is NOT the duty of the girl to remind you that there is a line which you are not supposed to cross.

2. If she rejects you, do not chase her. Think to yourself, that she is not your cup of tea or she is not worth going after. She may be polite to you even after she rejects you, but understand that she does not entertain any kind of stupid thoughts you might have in your mind. Be a man and accept the fact that she doesn’t like you and move on with your life. Do not aspire to ruin her life because of your ego. If she really liked you, she would have told you. Do not start spreading rumours that you did “stuff” with her just because she rejected you, and ruin her reputation.

3. If you hear a rumour about someone, go and ask them first. Ask them if it is true or not. Do not go on to spread false tales to your group of friends because it is new, because it is spicy. When you talk to that person and they deny the rumour, believe them and move on with your life. You have better things to do than to be a part of something which completely destroys someone.

4. Hookups aren’t an issue unless falsely stated. Do not start linking people just because they talk to each other. Open your mind, give it air to breathe and realise that this is not how things work. This is not what you are supposed to do.

5. For those ‘toppers’ who have heard a lot of abuses from your classmates about how teachers discriminate against you, remember, it’s not your fault. You are good, and you’re still trying to be the best version of yourself.

A still from Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”

6. So there was this recent show on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why”, and this show depicted exactly what happens in high school. Some of you sympathising with the lead character Hannah Baker around whom the story of this show is written, are perhaps also the ones who are just like those people who are responsible for Hannah’s death.

What most of you think is fine, what most of you think is funny, all your senseless gossip is the reason behind a series of sleepless nights for a victim.

7. Your friend circle still defines who you are. Being the ‘beautiful white dove’ in a flock of ‘crows’ will make no difference to the world outside, because you hang out with them, so choose your circle wisely. It’s easy to figure out if you’re in the right circle or not:

• If your circle helps you grow.

• If your circle talks about the same kind of stuff, you talk about.

• If your ideas match.

• If the world doesn’t bother you.

• If they stick with you during difficult times.

• If they are there with you for who you are and not because of what you have.

• If they are happy to see your growth instead of abusing you for leaving them behind.

• If they constantly motivate you to do better.

In case you are a victim of bullying, I would suggest you talk to elders about it, not necessarily your parents, just trusted elders. Don’t talk to your peers about your problems unless you are completely sure that they will hear you out without revealing to the world about your problems.

Your high school phase can decide a lot about your future, so make sure that instead of regretting it, you make the right decision. Instead of engaging in senseless gossip, engage in fruitful conversations. Instead of getting involved in fights, get involved in healthy competitions. This is the age to make the right choice and this choice will lead you to a beautiful road in the future.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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