As the whistle was blown, waves crashed into her ankles, her feet picked up speed and her hands swung like propellers. Barely two minutes in and her torso crashed into the red ribbon. My mouth ajar, I watched Aashna didi from a distance.
I wanted to grow up to have a stark body like hers and master the skill of running fast. But this wasn’t the only thing I ardently wished for; I wanted to teach statistics to undergraduates like my Ba and make realistic paintings like Radhika kaki but the truth was my small fingers couldn’t even hold paintbrushes properly and my brain couldn’t fathom the concept of even probability.
I opened my eyes to my sister waltzing around. 30 minutes had passed since my fruitless ruminations slowly faded into oblivion and I had started dozing off on the desk; I opened the laptop and tethered it to the charger.
As I wrote the first few lines of my new webpage, I wondered if investing time into this was worth it. I had wanted to make realistic paintings since childhood, had wanted to make web pages since middle school and now the conundrum regarding my aim and targets of life was torturing me. I, a teenager, wasn’t really matured yet to decide on my future, but acquiring the right skill to ensure help for the future is imperative and I had been quite indecisive regarding that the whole time, I was too absorbed into my seemingly skillful tasks to even think of my actual calling.
After completing the codes, I re-immersed into ruminations of my future. Then it dawned on me that the childhood obsession of mine to become a sports prodigy was a temporary obsession born out of the influence of someone; sports never made me happy from within but painting did! So did storytelling and asking many questions! While I was entangled in the act of learning new skills, I had forgotten to question the reason to learn them and the need for these skills. What even are skills, what are my skills? Why do I need them? Are skills truly necessary? I would question myself sometimes. Turns out, being skillful isn’t about mastering as many skills as possible, instead about learning and becoming proficient in one domain properly and then moving to another.
Collins Dictionary states “Skill” is “the knowledge that enables one to do something well” and I couldn’t agree more. The realization hit me that I wasn’t being skillful by trying to squeeze in numerous tasks into my schedule. Henceforth, for me “being skillful” means: acquiring knowledge of any task and mastering the task; two of several key types of skills include: hard skills and soft skills. Technical skills, Management skills, Analytical skills etc. falling under the category of hard skills, whereas flexibility, networking, communication critical thinking etc. Falling under the category of soft skills and both types should be combined creatively to yield high results in any sector.
I strongly believe learning skills shouldn’t be done under the coercion of anybody. The passion to be best at a task shall drive the person into mastering the skill, even better when they help them in their long-term target. Uncertainty and hesitancy while learning new skills is almost inherent but we must not waste loads of time over that. Reading, public speaking, sketching is all my cup of tea and looking back, I realize these all genuinely play a part in molding me into a better person and safeguarding my future; my aim is to be a “Doctor and Researcher“, I have a hankering to research on new topics, diagnose diseases, save lives of innocent children, improve maternal health and look at children beaming at me in my white coat. I believe forging connections through communication, asking questions, sketching different creatures will all definitely aid a doctor’s job. Now, it is my duty to not undermine my skills over the coming years due to any influences.
It is a note to the skillful me to work persistently to enhance my skills and remain open to acquiring new skills as the future belongs to those who learn many skills and combine them in creative ways. I shall channel my way to the top by embracing failures, surrounding myself with inspiring people, not letting procrastination take over, planning strategically when necessary, reaching out if required and by remaining focused on my task all the time. Negative influences must not ever obscure my vision; temporary pleasure should not corrupt me; frivolity shall not ever take over and I ought to persevere to upgrade my caliber. Most important of all: I shall honor all those guiding me to mold me into a wiser, kinder and qualified being.
Jessica Yadav, Winner