Personal Narrative: Resilience can Make a Difference

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Personal narrative about why resilience can make a difference.


Resilience can Make a Difference

 

Everyone has hardships. That’s just how life is. Either you just went through one, you’re going through one right now, or one’s coming your way. Hardships are common, and they don’t have to be big. One could be as simple as having a long commute from work to home. Either way, you have to be resilient. Resilience is important in everyday life - it is the ability to spring back after something negative happens in your life and the ability to never give up. Some ways you can do this are to REACT (Jason Redman, How to Get Through Hard Times video), to reflect on yourself, and most importantly, to believe in yourself. You have to be on the look for second chances and grab them whenever they come. In fact, I’ve had to apply resilience just two years ago, in my sixth-grade Jazz Band tryouts.

It was right after school, on a Friday. I walked to the band room, confident, and ready to play, with my drumsticks in hand. I got there and saw someone else already trying out. I sat down in a chair and waited for him to finish. He was pretty good. After he finished, I took my sheet music out and got on the drumset. I waited for the cue and then I started playing. I was very nervous, as for percussion, there were only two spots. I played what I was supposed to, and I didn’t mess up - until the last part - Latin style. I messed up big time. I went off-beat and even hit the wrong drum a few times. I did not know Latin at all. I didn’t know if I would make it in or not, but I was still going to try. Now I just had to wait - the long, stressful, wait…

A few months later, and the results were in! The roster for next year’s Jazz Band was hanging neatly on the band room door. There were so many people in the morning that I had to wait for my band period until I could see. When it was time for band, I rushed to the list. I scanned the list once, then twice, and yet again. My name was nowhere to be found. A wave of sadness and despair enveloped me. I didn’t make it into Jazz. I sat with that thought for the rest of the day, until I got home and talked to my parents about it. I was going to be resilient and next year, I WAS going to get in, no matter what.

For a few days, I didn’t touch my drumset. Then I realized that if I was going to get into Jazz, I was going to have to practice. I remembered that I had a mentor I could rely on. At my next lesson, I talked to my instructor about what I should do. I reflected on what went wrong at the first practice - Latin - and targeted that area, with my teacher to guide me along the way. We spent time on every specific thing and perfected it. We even prepared a specific rhythm that I could use when it was time to improvise! After we finished Latin, we didn’t stop. We improved on every style and I even learned some new rudiments and techniques along the way.

Soon, it was time for the next tryouts. This time, I was as prepared as I could ever be. I walked into the band room, confident. It was just me. I set my music down and got on the drumset, with my drumsticks out. I waited for my cue and I played. I played everything I was given and I did the best I could. This time, I didn’t mess up once. I nailed Latin style, and I’m pretty sure it was even the best style I played that day! I was confident that I got into Jazz Band. After I finished, it was time for the long wait again…

Another few months and the results were in. This time, digitally because of the pandemic that had just started. I was nervous because if I didn’t make it in this year, I would never make it in. I read the list once and I saw my name listed under “Drums”: Atiksh Paul. I was overjoyed. I went and told my parents and waited for the first day of band, next year…

Without knowing it at the time, I REACTed (Jason Redman, How to Get Through Hard Times video). I Recognized my reality - I didn’t make it into Jazz, and that was the adversity I was going to have to face. I Evaluated my actions - I could either practice and get better for the next tryouts, or I could sit and sulk. I Assessed possible outcomes - I either got into Jazz next year or I didn’t. I Chose a direction and communicated it - I wanted to practice to get better, and I asked my drum teacher if he could help. Finally, I Took action - I started practicing and kept going until I had things down perfectly. I then looked for second chances, and I found one - the Jazz tryouts next year. I took the knowledge I got from reflecting and the skills I picked up from practicing and I applied them in the final test.

Although I got into Jazz (and am in Jazz right now), that doesn’t mean I stopped practicing. You can’t just reach the goal and leave everything there. You have to go further and do your absolute best. Otherwise, what’s the point of even getting to the top? Perhaps, a trophy just for display? This experience also taught me that you have to be prepared for loss and you’ll get a second chance. You can take that chance and do better because you already failed once and learned from your mistakes, but only if you made the choice and reflected on that failed first attempt. Mistakes are part of life. Making a mistake once isn’t anything to be ashamed of. If you keep making the same mistake over and over again, that’s when you’ve got a problem. 

Another thing that I learned was that you don’t have to be happy every single moment of every day. Sure, playing drums is fun, but to perfect something, you have to repeat one skill, over and over, and over again. Even if you aren’t having fun at the moment, if you know that doing what you are will help you to be happy in the future, you should do it. I won’t lie - practicing the same thing is boring, but that boring practice I did helped me to get better, and I was elated when I first got into Jazz!

I also picked up a new instrument along the way: Piano. In piano sheet music, you have to read two lines at once. Speaking of reading, why are you reading this, and why do any of us read at all? We read to learn and to feel emotion. People write to share their ideas with the world and to let their voices be heard. The stories we tell can reveal our innermost thoughts and what we think of the world around us. Stories are what help people to learn from others’ experiences and not make the same mistakes that they did. A story is a form of reflection on someone else’s life that can help improve your own. Your adversity is your story, and your story is what defines you.


Submitted: July 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Atiksh Paul. All rights reserved.

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