Superkids: A passionate writer, jumping in headfirstMay 16, 2014
There are some students who just seem to “get it”—get it in an innate, self-motivated kind of way, get it in a fundamental and profound—seemingly effortless—kind of way. One such student is Adithi Iyer, a focused young woman and a sophomore in high school who embodies what it means to pursue one’s passion and indeed to chase it emphatically. A role model for students who are struggling to pursue what it is they enjoy, she recounts her journey not only to explore what she loves but also to inspire others to do the same.
-Jenn Curtis, Owner, Futurewise Consulting
Q: How were you able to identify your passion?
A: I have been writing for as long as I can remember—my interest really stems from telling my story, explaining myself, and feeling the need to make a difference. That is the passion I capture with writing—I have always found it relaxing and necessary to write everything down….From competing to freelance writing to trying to tackle novels, I always found it exciting to revisit my thoughts and let them stew through writing.
Q: You have taken the initiative to pursue your personal passion in an interesting way. Tell me about what you did.
A: At school and in the community I’m in, I notice a lot of the time that imagination as a learning tool is effectively removed from the system at a young age. At the same time, in our world I notice that a vast majority of us with the ability to become great storytellers and the potential to achieve great success simply don’t have access to the resources needed to do that in school. The common factors to me stood out: Imagination, creative thinking, and writing skills are necessary to produce the inventors, the scientists, the speakers, the activists—the people who make change in the world. And the need is real. My immersion in the creative writing community by my early middle school years made that very clear to me. So I started to take some steps towards fulfilling that need. Recently, I appealed to the public library system to facilitate a summer writing program with a series of contests and a public forum for new writers to get “published.” After…hashing out all the details to a T, however, I was told it wouldn’t work. The initial dejection I felt from the end of a months-long campaign was quickly turned into this determination to continue with the project. Since the city’s guidelines were restrictive on the public level, I decided to combine a potential outreach literacy advocacy program with the website I had originally planned to launch, and launched INSPIREOC.org in fall of 2013.
Q: Your website both is an extension of your passion and allows others to engage in their own. How do you see your role in inspiring others?
A: As a writer, my goal is simply to circulate new knowledge and grow with others in the polishing and display of new work. As an advocate of worldwide literacy, I hope to spread this knowledge to places that truly need it and make writing accessible anywhere, no longer a first-world commodity. It’s a part of writing culture, as well, to be the inspiration you need to see; online forums are scattered with tips and tricks to overcome such plagues as writer’s block and the frustration of novel editing. And as such an intrinsic tool to the growth of students in any field, I hope that this site allows students of different walks, different passions, to reap from the benefits of truly embracing the art of storytelling.
Q: Students sometimes find it difficult to dive wholeheartedly into their passion, either because they don’t know how or other demands seem to take precedence. What is your advice for them?
A: When we think about the overarching pressures put on us to succeed in the conventional sense, or do something that is generally accepted as “success,” we often get scared into doing things for the sake of other people or get distracted by this “background noise.” The real value of having a passion is that we are not afraid to jump in headfirst—we can’t let fear or intimidations stop us from living our wildest dreams. The real only way to discover this is to let go of preconceptions and go into everything with an open mind, and most importantly to try everything.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to become deeply involved in the things in which you are interested?
A: Getting involved is such an umbrella term, I think, and it’s thrown around nowadays. Many students get involved in their local programs or school events and never really take much from it; a lot of people who have gotten involved in one topic have taken an entire 180 and switched their majors, for example. Interest should be, above all, the first thing to gauge our levels of commitment, and that goes back to trying new things and going into everything with an open mind. In the end it should all just “click”—and it always does!