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Student Blog: Be the best version of ourselves

07 October 2019

Nastya, G12, Russia, was inspired by her participation in a (very!) rainy early morning charity run on Wednesday 2nd October into a reflection on how the experience of this run – the challenges she faced and how she overcame them – functions as a pertinent metaphor for facing and overcoming the obstacles that we face in life. We were very happy when Nastya not only volunteered to write a Student Blog about this, but also agreed to share her thoughts in this morning’s Monday assembly, in which her wisdom, humour and impassioned delivery served to powerfully convey the important message of her speech, and gave all the staff and students an uplifting start to the week! It is also worth noting that Nastya took the time and effort to learn her speech by heart, a time-consuming labour of love that heightened the heartfelt sincerity of her delivery…

“It is important to show ourselves that we are much more than we can imagine…”

I am very grateful for being given this amazing opportunity today to talk to you guys and the teachers about my experience of the second “Wake Up” morning run some of us went on last Wednesday to raise money for the ASRIMM charity

I think we all can relate to that feeling of sadness and discouragement when standing on the doorstep looking outside at 5 am, when it is pitch black and the heavy rain does not seem to come to an end, willing to just give everything up, go back to bed and not bother. 

So, what is the purpose then of overcoming negative thoughts, taking up the gauntlet and daring to try? Why did none of the girls who were about to leave for the run turn around and say: “I’m staying in school. I’m not doing this!”? Well, I guess it might be because they thought it was too late to change their mind… :)

But, in actual fact, I believe it could equally be due to their bravery to accept the challenge and do it no matter what; and, also, due to their willingness to support the charitable organisation Téléthon and help people with rare genetic diseases. Whatever the reason is, to me it was an absolutely great decision and, to be honest with you, I did not realise at the time how much of a change taking part in this early morning run would make to my state of mind.

Eventually, the moment has come – the starting line is crossed, we are on the track and nothing can be changed. (Not that I wanted it to…) Yet with every step we make it gets further and further from the stadium, and harder and harder as we are going uphill. This is where our friends’ enthusiasm comes in! I was in a group with Mrs Done and Charlotte. And, as you can probably guess, one major thing that kept me going from the very beginning were Charlotte’s jokes and Mrs Done’s support. Halfway through, it comes to the point when I realise that it’s not actually that bad and oddly enough, I am enjoying it! 

However, you won’t believe what was coming up…and, genuinely, I’d rather you didn’t know – but it is a very good example of how people who we hold dear can help us in difficult situations that we wouldn’t be able to cope with on our own. 

So, what did actually happen?

Closer to the end when we were almost there, a long bunch of stairs appeared out of nowhere and, in about a minute, I lagged behind. When I got to the top, there were three routes going in three different directions and I obviously didn’t know which one to take; so I just stopped there and thought that I should probably call the school. And so I did, even though I was afraid to call anyone at first because I thought that they would get mad at me for getting lost. But I am glad I did call because Mrs Done was able to help and came back for me. I realised that, at the end of the day, teachers are not there to judge us or scold us at all; they are there to help us whenever we need with whatever we need. 

Whilst standing there alone, with no idea where I was, with no idea where I should go, I acknowledged that we often get in the exact same situation in real-life, when we have to make important life choices or decisions. And, if you are lost and don’t know what to do or where to go, your close friends and relatives are the ones that will help you out, who will guide you and lead you to your final destination. 

This was when I caught myself thinking that when overcoming difficulties together, we ourselves become stronger but also our relationships becomes stronger.

Oh, what a great joy I felt when we got to the end! I was very happy at completing the run and overwhelmed with the extraordinary sense of achievement that I gained. Everything starts to seem possible when you have the support and belief that you can do it: you are able to do it and there is simply no reason why you wouldn’t do it. This is the feeling I try to carry with me throughout life, particularly when it comes to solving problems and overcoming difficulties. 

However, as life goes on, there are lots of times when we don’t feel that uplifted or strong or capable of anything. Therefore, in order to free ourselves from feeling this way, it is important to show ourselves that we are much more than we can imagine. 

By taking up challenges and not being terrified by any difficulties that will always be there on our way to success, we prove to ourselves that there are no limits of what we can be or of what we can achieve. 

An extremely important point to mention here is that we only do it to prove this to ourselves and NOT to others!!! We are not trying in any way to show others that we are better but we are trying to be the best version of ourselves so that we can then help others and inspire them, leading by example, to a conviction that we can be anything that we want to be and they can be anything they want to be as well. It is not a competition but a team action to help each other shine!

Coming back to the run – not only was it an exceptional way of waking up in the morning, exercising, getting stronger physically and mentally and getting energy for the rest of the day but it was also for a good cause! It was a fantastic opportunity to help children, teenagers and adults who are just like us, but who are unfortunately affected by rare genetic diseases. 

There is nothing more fascinating in the world than realising how lucky we all are and being grateful for everything we have. Without thinking deeply of it, we do not fully appreciate that we can walk and run and jump and feel strong, and we just take these things for granted. Yet, when we do recognise how blessed we are, the most incredible thing that we can do is to help people who are going through difficulties, especially because we often come to discover that they are even stronger and happier than we are because they have learnt the value of every small thing in life. 

All of us who are here today can take the most from every opportunity we are given and put it into something good; use it for giving more opportunities to those who are not as privileged as we are.

Thank you…


If you would like to read more of Nastya’s writing, click here to take you to her Diary of a Surval Summer Camper, an account of how Nastya’s experience at Surval Summer Camp inspired her to apply to become a Surval student – a decision we’re delighted that she made!