By: Vaishaal Shankar
Apparently in order to fit in at Mission, I must practice this art called “Sprezzatura” (you know, trying to be effortless). The concept was simple enough, whatever I do, whenever I do it; I need to act like I don’t care. The “act” was emphasized which allows me to work hard on the inside but seem effortless on the outside. And the more effortless I seem, the cooler I’ll become.
It was a lot harder to execute than I thought it would be. I had to fight my inner Asian tendencies, for example whenever the teacher would post grades it would take all my energy just to stay in my seat while everybody rushes over. At the end of class I’d casually glance at the sheet, and if I saw the expected A, I’d pretend to shrug it off and hold back my joy. But if I saw a B, I’d have to temporarily lie (temporary cause I’ll obviously bring it back up) to my friends in order to keep my aura of intelligence.
At first these rules were foreign to me. I’d practice for months to no avail, and when I was just ready to quit, people would start noticing me. People that I considered “cool” started talking to me. The plan had worked.
Soon, things got kind of ridiculous. I was told to become a closed book, conceal everything that I desire. I’d also have to demean myself at some points or lie about the effort I put into a piece of work to stay in the game. Within a few weeks my default reply to “how was the test” was “I failed that so hard”, and people would suddenly shower me in sympathy and respect, whereas the kid who talked about how easy it was ignored and hated. Even if I set the curve on the test (because I studied so hard at home) I’ d just say “wow, I didn’t study at all…” and everybody would gape in awe, like I was some sort of magical superstar. And if I failed, I’d use the same excuse, it was a win-win.
This new lifestyle was working for me, I had the grades, the friends, and the status. When I told my parents about it, they flipped out. It was against every principle they ever learned they said. Hard work is supposed to be flaunted not hidden. The scariest thing they said was that if I kept telling everybody else I didn’t care about school, I’d soon believe it myself. I am assuming they were bluffing because it hasn’t caught up to me yet…I think. Besides, it’s more important to look cool right?
Also, I wrote this article in five minutes. It’s no biggie.