My 2021

December 23, 2021
Diary

It’s… December, already?

A few months ago, I stressed myself out over exams and COVID. A few months later, I’m stressing out over exams and COVID. What has changed?

In all seriousness, as this year closes, I wanted to reflect and give an overview. Think of this like a Spotify Unwrapped 😉


I became more focused throughout my life.

Picture of hot chocolate

Hot chocolate >>

Becoming more focused is a significant achievement for me - but I was forced into it!

At the start of the year, many students and I were dragged, kicking and screaming, into deep focus because our GCSEs (feels so long ago now) were fast approaching.

I was never a perfect or A grade student, especially before this year (not even in 2020 when I’d write blog posts about “the best study technique”). By the end of the exam period, I realised that many techniques, apps, short life hacks that study, and motivational influencers would boast about were, well… pure baloney!

The harsh reality is that: you can’t do anything without putting focus and work into it. There’s no way you can put in the work without putting in the work.

Techniques and systems do have some significance when it comes to being a student or even in life, but until you put your head down and focus, you will not get better grades or achieve a goal. Techniques do not compensate for hard work!

I got GCSEs done and said a fond farewell to my secondary school of 4 years.

Clark Narvas in 2017

Me in 2017

This year I finally got GCSEs done and left secondary school feeling nostalgic but also quite relieved! After a while, I started to feel a little claustrophobic in the same building with the same people from the past 4 years.

On results day, I took the paper with my results on it and, for the last time, walked out of the building. I was planning to open up my results at home (the hall was too frightening) until the headteacher of the school, who actually taught me English, approached me, and with a reassuring tone and smile, helped me open them up.

My results weren’t that bad. With the ongoing situation and my previous academic background, I wasn’t expecting to get total Grade 9’s everywhere. A little known fact about me is that I took Foundation Maths, and I felt like I would fail it. When I saw that strong pass, a big wave of relief and achievement hit me, “I did it.” I cared about nothing else that day.

I got into A-Levels, and I’m now doing my preferred subjects: Computer Science, Media Studies and Politics.

I let victory prevail

In March this year, I helped build the Cara McDade for Under 19s Officer campaign to elect a Macron-obsessed, Paul Rudd-loving and proudly Scottish teenage girl into a National Executive Committee. It might sound like a nightmare, but trust me, it was pretty fun to do!

The amount of time we had to run a campaign was short: 1 week. Over a weekend, we hastily drew up and built messaging, assets, an entire website, and an opening statement to announce the campaign. She was part of a ‘slate’ with other candidates. It was also our job to promote them alongside.

We wanted it to seem professional but also personal, so we used direct messages, videos, memes and blogs to communicate our message of listening to young people and creating a better Scottish Young Labour.

By the end of voting time, the campaign alone directly mobilised over 60 people towards voting for her. The results that came back were a win for every candidate on the slate.

A big W indeed!

I got in the habit of reading more books.

Rich Dad Poor Dad on an iPad

Books.

“Clark, you’re reading a book?!?”

This year I started getting in the habit of reading more books. I wouldn’t call myself a ‘bookworm’ yet, but it’s now something I do to relax or keep my mind flowing during studying breaks. I mainly read factual and self-help books to gain new ideas, but I want to read more storybooks.

A bunch of great books I’ve read this year:

A Promised Land by Barack Obama: It’s a long and thick presidential memoir, especially for a presidential memoir! It tops up to 769 pages, or 28 hours if you’re listening to the audiobook. He talks a lot about the campaign and his intentions and thoughts during the presidency. It covers a lot of crucial moments in his time in office, from the Affordable Care Act passing to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It was very insightful in how he led as a president and, weirdly, entertaining.

Get A Promised Land on Amazon

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki: I think a lot of people I know would be shocked to hear that I read a book by the same author who wrote ‘The Capitalist Manifesto’, but I, inevitably, live in a capitalist country and unfortunately that’s unlikely to ever change soon, so I might as well learn from the dark side. The book nails one big lesson: “The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them”. The richest in society do not use their money primarily on liabilities (anything that simply deducts money); they use their money on assets (things that do give them cash flow or increase in value). It primarily covers property, but now the term “asset” can mean more, like stocks and cryptocurrency.

Get Rich Dad, Poor Dad on Amazon

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: Humans have an addiction to thinking about the future and the past; this is unlike any other living being on Earth which simply think about “moo”, “this grass is nice”, “I need water”, “this light is really bright, i’m going to stick to it and get zapped!”. Our ability to abstractly think, imagine and reI’mct is our superpower as a species, but sometimes it can hurt us when it goes too far. The Power of Now is about resetting our minds and controlling and reacting differently to our thoughts. A lot of the tips in the book have helped me focus in the moment, control a lot of my emotions and anxiety and change the way I think about… thinking.

Get The Power of Now on Amazon

I started walking the talk, not talking the walk.

Digital notetaking with iPad

Creating content across my social media in lockdown was enjoyable. It allowed me to form a platform to talk about my views and express my creativity.

However, I recognised that a lot of what I was blogging about and branded myself as in 2020 was never a true reflection of who I was. It was someone I was desperate to become.

I didn’t meditate, I didn’t study really well, I had a lot of problems, I wasn’t that Clark I was posting about at all. This project became a distraction, and it risked my authenticity.

So, I took a break. I didn’t post a lot across social media and on my blog throughout this year. I focused entirely on getting work done, learning and cutting all the crap to become that person. Meditation became an actual thing I do, and it’s really helped me become happier and calmer. I accelerated my workouts so I could become the real Clark Kent. I started reading more in the summer holidays and learning JavaScript and my own home language, Tagalog. I tried to become more disciplined and got involved with many side projects.


I’ve been thinking of a word to define my mission for next year. The only direction I want to go is forward; I want to build on what I have done this year and keep going with my current momentum next year. I’m optimistic I can go forward with my life and become the person I’ve always wanted to become.

2022 is about me going Forward. ➡️

via GIPHY

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