#YouthDay: 'Be ready, I'm coming world!' – Aarya S Srikrishna

2016-06-16 16:20
Aarya S Srikrishna (Supplied to News24)

Aarya S Srikrishna (Supplied to News24)

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#Youth Day  "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," the late President Nelson Mandela said.

Now imagine if each and every youth used this quote as their daily mantra. Yet our born-free generation  the ones who don't know a thing about the struggle against apartheid  live a life devoid of everything our martyr and saviour so tirelessly fought for.

Today the youth face escalating crime, an alarming rate of teenage pregnancy, a valueless rand, schools and other public buildings burnt to the ground, violent protests and a corrupt government.

Is this what Nelson Mandela would have wanted?

"To do my homework or not!" is the question I ask myself almost daily.

Facebook versus science homework, Twitter versus maths, WhatsApp as opposed to my English essay; these are some of the daily choices I have to make.

These seemingly simple choices seem hard to make. Who do I please? The options seem endless but sadly it's the results that count.

The youth, contrary to what adults think, are in a difficult stage of their lives. There are overbearing parents, one parent always blaming the other for my simple yet sometimes serious blunders.

Then comes the unrealistic expectations. I mean, clearly to us it seems like hard work will kill. We choose the easy route. I find myself often pondering – what do parents know about the life of a teenager?

What about school? Did the people who designed our curriculum even think that schoolchildren are humans?

Do they even know that there is a life at home? We are constantly overburdened, I think, with homework, projects and assignments.

Is there any time for fun? Now even visiting a sick aunt seems like a mission impossible.

Sometimes the projects are so unrealistic for a child to do that we end up seeking outside help. Clearly the end result is that I learnt nothing but obtained an A symbol. Strange isn’t it , but very true. Ask any honest pupil.

Schools are now trading grounds for various unpleasant activities. The drug problem cannot be over-emphasised. It does not discriminate. All races, colours, shapes and ages are guilty.

We are constantly given 'the talk' by parents. Maybe only a small percentage of learners are guilty but the numbers seems to be increasing by the day.

What about the battlefield? There are fights over trivial issues, insignificant issues and sometimes over love issues. Principals are now referees, judges or even love gurus! Sometimes I just smile in awe when I witness these things.

My book, my story

Why am I so anxious?

I spend many hours questioning my decisions. Most of the time, I realise my faults and change my thinking. Sometimes I act and then think but I am willing to learn from my silly mistakes.

Unlike most teens, I can accept failure. I've learnt that life is a journey of ups and downs, of potholes and curves, but I am willing to take risks and make a difference.

Am I a quitter? Not at all! I love life – period. Many of my friends and family find me quite annoying at times, but hey it's my book and I write the story.

So world – are you ready to handle this youth? Because I, Aarya Srikrishna, am armed, ready and pumped-up to take on the future. After all, difficult roads always lead to beautiful destinations.

* Aarya S Srikrishna, 14, is a grade 9 pupil at the Stanger Manor Secondary School in Stanger, north of Durban.

- News24 will give the youth a voice on our platforms for Youth Day. A group of learners share their thoughts with you. What does Youth Day mean to you? Let us know your thoughts here.

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