- Shaheena Kishnani talks about her life growing up and her struggles with fitting in and trying to make sense of what she wanted.
- This article discusses the importance of taking your time, being patient, and becoming comfortable with yourself to discover what you want to be.
- Girl Power Talk’s role in helping her find herself and grow as a person.
Life is a puzzle. Every stage of life, from childhood to senior age, provides you with a piece that you’ll be left to try and figure out where to put. Whether you start from the middle part outwards or corner pieces inwards, how you decide to solve your puzzle is a unique journey for you. Sometimes, people figure it out quickly, while others may take a while. And that’s alright.
Floating on a Boat: Navigating High School and Identity
Like most young people during that period of life, I was still trying to figure out what pieces to pick up. I struggled to discover where they were meant to be placed. Looking at the people around me during that time, I couldn’t help but feel left out now and then. As the shy, introverted Indian girl growing up in Indonesia, it sometimes felt like I was too Indian for the Indonesian kids. Simultaneously, I also felt too Indonesian for the Indian kids. It was daunting — seeing everyone with their cliques, seemingly knowing who they were. They never once need to question their sense of belonging because it’s where they’re meant to be.
I studied in an international school, so there was an added layer of difficulty navigating a sea of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Socializing was never my strong suit, so my circles were always small. We were like this melting pot of various people who were never truly here or there at times. But, looking back, having an array of people like that who had my back really helped provide me this comfort. We never needed to be like the other social groups in school because we were ourselves, and we were happy.
Writing as a Saving Grace
Something about that transitionary period from middle school to high school—the 8th grade—really helped me discover my passion for writing. During that time, I was reading a lot more and writing a lot more. My passion had always been in reading, writing, and English, so those became my outlet during that stage. It made me feel less alone; helping me figure out those big emotions that just eat you up and make you feel like you’re drowning. It helped me realize and understand the world I live in and who I am through the eyes and experiences of other people.
I’ve always been an emotional person. For instance, at the end of movies, I would cry happy tears to see the hero win, but I would also feel sad for the villain. Just because I could see and understand where they’re coming from, though I don’t necessarily root for them. Deep dives into characters, exploring their individual stories, arcs, goals, and aspirations—and just going on this journey to understand everyone’s perspective has always interested me.
Even in music—I couldn’t tell you much about notes or instruments, but the analysis behind the song, why the songwriter chose certain lyrics or metaphors. It’s the deeper meaning behind specific pieces of literature and media that has always interested me in English; the research aspect and crafting words. Yet, like most kids from my background, I was never allowed to pursue that career-wise and such. It took me a while to figure out what exactly I wanted to do when I grew up.
Realizations & Career Aspirations
It was a long process, and I only started to realize my passion for business in high school. That time, I was slowly coming out of my shell—socializing, participating, and networking with more people. I was finally getting comfortable in my own skin to start growing academically and personally. At first, I was confused about why I was slowly becoming intrigued with business as a career path. As previously mentioned, the only known passion I’ve had up until that point was English. But I discovered business, and I did the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma program.
Then, I was introduced to marketing. For me, marketing was almost like the more creative writing aspect of business. It combined my English skills and creativity with my budding interest in the business industry. When it came to pursuing my college education, I ended up taking up marketing and realized that I enjoyed doing what I was doing.
Discovering Girl Power Talk and College During COVID-19
Like most of my peers during the 2020s, I had that unfortunate experience of spending my college days indoors and struggling with online classes. When I first discovered Girl Power Talk, I wasn’t particularly ready or even actively looking for immediate, possible job opportunities. However, I perused through the website and its various social media accounts. The company’s diversity, identity, and visions that voice women’s empowerment and help young girls in India resonated with me and pulled me in. Feeling out of place in my own country was a big part of my personal development. Thus, discovering a body of work and environment like this just drew me in. I took the chance and applied.
It was an eye-opening experience. My expectations of entering the workforce were wholly about my professional skills, experiences, and what I could offer as an asset to the company. However, Girl Power Talk puts in the effort to get to know you as an individual. They respect your worth and value as an actual human, rather than the skills you can offer as a potential employee. I had little experience with 4-5 more interviews with other corporate jobs, and it was different from the experience attached to Girl Power Talk. Not to mention, there was this offer of growth and that experience of understanding and immersing yourself in various departments.
The Impact of Girl Power Talk
I was completely blown away when I was accepted and became an official part of this wonderful organization. Everyone was so welcoming and warm. The impact that Girl Power Talk had on my life is just beyond incomparable at this point. Not just with regards to growing as a person in my confidence and ability but especially with helping me connect to people who share the same dreams and aspirations.
Girl Power Talk has this undeniable closeness and connection with you despite being from India, the Philippines, or any other part of the world. I found an amazing support system in Girl Power Talk. They motivate me and help me learn how to push myself to be better, more prepared, and excited for new things that this world offers me. As a child, not knowing who I might be in the future and where I’d end up would usually scare me. But now, as a young leader at Girl Power Talk, I’m more enthusiastic and willing to face the unexpected than ever.
Things in life may not always make sense right away and often take time. However, with a little patience, you will find that missing piece immediately. Never be afraid to follow your own pace in life because we all have our own personal flow. Find value in yourself, and find a place and people who can value you the same.