You know it’s just what you’ve got to do. Career or not it doesn’t matter in that moment. When you’re at school, in the library, having read some of that book you’re meant to be reading but half an hour in you’ve just got to get your notebook out and write those thoughts spilling out of your head.
You’re beaming to yourself. Mad person that you are, possessed by some insane charge of adrenaline, of purpose.
You look up from time to time at your classmates walking past, some yawning exhaustedly, others still looking out for information they need to get their work done, stamina slowing.
And you just want to tell them. Do it. Do what you really, really want. What gets you the most excited, the most invigorated. You’ll make your most powerful contribution to the world if you are doing what you’re here best to do.
Be that composer. You, go and pursue your rowing. Yes, study space travel to your absolute content. Please consider performing with that voice of yours. And you, don’t you dare let the school try and test you to then define you; you work too well with people in a way needed for this world to function, for that.
I sat there and just wanted to tell them all wildly, ‘If you think you know what it is, go find a way to do it. If you don’t yet, carry on, just like they all tell you to, but not all grey and defeated and complaining. Carry on with hope. With an absolute demand to find it. And then one day you’ll realise what it is.’
We, as pupils, have a tendency to define our worth by a number on a test paper and the achievements announced in assembly. It can desperately difficult to think any differently. It can feel as though everyone and everything is urging us to believe that we are not good enough, that we aren't being recognised enough, when in fact, there could be traits, skills, tendencies within us that simply have not been unlocked yet.
I honestly do believe that everyone has something they are here to do, something they can put into the world. Something that gets them excited, that makes the insides of their bodies flutter, that induces a current of burning energy, of passion, within them. I like to think that these ‘somethings’ are sparklers in everybody’s hand, and we all have matches to light our sparkler.
We, as teenagers, spend a lot of time in school, where we obtain an education. All in all, we know that education is important; it is valuable in cultivating us and our understanding of the world. Without it, we would be very ignorant. This does mean, however, that most of our lives are spent in quite a specific, rigid environment. We need to be aware of this.
Some people are able to light their sparklers in school. For example, they may have an innate love for Chemistry, and they have eight periods of it a week; their sparkler burns regularly and so their supply of energy is continuous. For others, perhaps they adore the adrenaline that courses through them whilst they run down a pitch, playing a sport. They often have practise throughout the week, and their teachers support their involvement in teams out of school, too. They can light their sparkler.
Nevertheless, for some, that isn’t so. Some people are determined to try; they strike their matches, they light their sparklers, they begin to escalate with determination and defiance and an innocent love to live their lives. Yet this isn’t picked up. They get overlooked because they are not wildly excelling in the many opportunities schools have to offer, or succeeding through the various ways of testing intelligence. They aren’t in the winning team for netball, they aren’t in the large orchestra playing symphonies, they aren’t in the front line in the choir, they don’t put across their point correctly in debating competitions, they don’t write safe creative writing, they don’t act in the way they have been instructed to act in plays, they struggle to score high on a literature paper because perhaps their minds are those of mathematicians. Their potential achievements cannot stem from such a prescriptive environment. These people may have their favourite subjects, and perhaps they can do rather well in them. However, what if that isn’t their sparkler?
They can feel suppressed. Their enthusiasm for their lives doesn’t rise; it lies dormant. Hushed, somewhere in the backs of their heads and in the depths of their chests. Waiting. Waiting to be set alight. They begin to question themselves, they get impatient, distressed, they ask, "Why not me? What am I doing wrong? What do I need to do to also participate in the current of life that is rushing past me?".
These people have different sparklers.
Their sparklers are the thoughts they have, the raw people that they are.
Some of them can make brilliant speeches which captivate audiences. Others can organise, plan, manage bodies of people and obtain a successful result at the end of a task. There are people who can talk to people, care for people, pick them up and make them want to live their life again. There are some who dare to write effective criticisms that humour society. A handful can effortlessly get on with children and cultivate their imaginations. A section of the population adore travelling and experiencing different cultures, gaining undoubtable insights. Some people have such an animated sense of humour, they can make almost anyone erupt in laughter.
These elements, and many others, of a person, do not have as much of an opportunity to thrive within a school atmosphere. It is vital to simply be aware of this and to continue learning in school, without being wholly defined by it.
It is vital that we see that we are needed, that we do have potential. Some people's minds could be questioning the normal. They could be the ones who are psychologically restless amongst everyone who is willing to accept how things are.
There is something for you. After school, when you are released into the world, there is the whole area for you to light your sparkler in.
When a person's sparkler has been lit, they appear to be gliding through their days almost effortlessly, with seemingly only a tremor of tension. This is because they have found what they can and truly want to do, absolutely amplifying their sense of purpose in their lives.
You do have a sparkler; it just may not have been lit yet.