Short? Deal with it

October 10, 2011 — by Deepti Kannan

Deepti Kannan

High school. Two words that go way beyond the literal meaning. But for now, let’s look at what each word means. “High” is defined as “of great vertical extent,” and school is denoted as “an institution for education.” So, technically, by entering “high school,” you are entering an institution for education of great vertical extent. For the vertically challenged like me, this could be a problem.

Almost always, I am the shortest person in my class. I am the one who can’t reach the top locker in the P.E. locker room. I am in the very front row for every school picture. Not to mention, I don’t appreciate being trampled over by people 2 heads taller than me in the hallways.

I know that I am not the only vertically challenged one out there. But most of the other short people my age have relatively tall parents. So genetically, they have the potential to grow; they are just late bloomers.

In my case, My mom is 5’3” and my dad is 5’5”. Considering that half of the students in my grade are taller than my parents, I don’t have much hope of growing.

Whenever one of your relatives comes to visit, many times they will say, “Wow, you have grown so tall!” or something along those lines. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a comment like that in two years. Instead I hear, “You should eat more protein” or “you should exercise more” or “you should jump rope, that will help you grow!”

But the problem is, they don’t work. I have tried all of them. I have spent countless hours measuring and remeasuring myself, focusing on a more protein diet, exercising more, hoping and praying that I will grow.

After two years of this process, nothing happened. I stayed around the same height, and I was not growing any taller.

When I finally realized this, I stopped hoping and started complaining. I blamed my parents, I blamed genetics, I blamed my taller friends, I blamed everything that was out of my reach.
And of course, that got me nowhere.

The only thing I have not tried yet is acceptance. The fact is, I am short, and I always will be. So instead of complaining, I could just accept that fact and use it to my advantage.

Being short has its perks too, but I never tried to think of them because I was too busy finding faults with my height. For example, short people are flexible, making it easier to stretch and bend down. A lot of the times, I have better posture than some taller people because I try to stand up tall while others slouch.

Don’t get me wrong, entering 9th grade at a height of barely 5 feet is not great. But at least I am starting to accept who I am, and I am slowly trying to move on.

So, as I walk through the hallways of Saratoga High School, looking up at all the other tall students, I think of the other definition of “high.” It can also mean “great or greater than normal.” In other words, I may not be of great vertical extent, but I will strive to be great in every other way including academics, extracurriculars, and character.

As J.R.R. Tolkien puts it, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

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Junior Daniel Jiang prepares to make a goal during an after school water polo practice at SHS's swimming pool on Sept. 16. Photo by Selina Chen

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