Since the dawn of time, animals have been forced to adhere to the cruel ways of the jungle. It has always been “Kill or be killed” and “Eat or be eaten” where the dominant species stand above while preys are forced to hide and cower in fear. Schools are no different, they’re a breeding ground for competition and a catalyst for stress. But there’s no mountain we can’t climb, no river we can’t cross and no challenge we can’t overcome. Here are some ways for you to survive from the jungle’s harsh clutches.
Firstly, STOP (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan). To avoid the stress and tangles of an academic jungle, it’s important to gauge the danger levels. Assessing what you should and shouldn’t do is a crucial step in survival that most people disregard. Curiosity and imagination are powerful assets. Having a clear set of goals, planning your schedule and managing your time well are key variables in maintaining the motivation to survive and move forward. Whenever you lose your will to try, it’s important to STOP, think about your goals and reflect about why you’re doing what you do.
Secondly, select your weapon of choice. Would you choose to wield a pen that inspires, a sword that defends, or a shield that protects? Choosing the appropriate weapon that compliments you and highlights your skills is a decisive factor in one’s survival. Survival of the fittest means learning to maximize the strengths that you have to excel in the field of your choice. Cheetahs have their speed, lions have their teeth, elephants have their size and giraffes have their height. What do you have that sets you apart from the crowd? The sooner you find and hone your edge the more chance you have at survival.
Lastly, it’s always important to know your worth. “You can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.” A jungle is filled to the brim with animals of all shapes and sizes, each one unlike the other. Likewise, there are many talented individuals in a classroom that excel in different fields, may it be academically, musically, athletically, or artistically. Each student is different in their own way, you don’t need to be the apex predator to flourish. It’s easy to feel “ordinary” in a room filled with “extraordinary” people, but just because you’re not like them, doesn’t mean you’re lesser than them.
The secret to surviving in a jungle is not putting on a mask trying to be someone you're not. Because no matter how hard you try you can never teach a fish how to fly. We are all built uniquely different and hard-wired with different skill sets. Instead of focusing on what you’re not, take your time to hone your skills and be the best at what you can be. To survive in a harsh environment where it's “Eat or be eaten," it's important to know your worth and maximize your strengths.
Felicity Zamora is 17 years old and from Cebu City, Philippines. She wrote this piece in hopes of helping other students who are currently unmotivated, lost, or experiencing academic burnout.