Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star later on in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.
—  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.
—  Mindy Kaling “Why Not Me”
At school, I decided to work on being a performer. I tried out for every play but never got cast in any big part. They cast the same popular, pretty people over and over while I played a hobo or a homeless woman for, like, nine consecutive productions. That was really hard. I had such an inherent trust in adults that all I could think was: This must mean I’m actually really bad at this. When I said something I thought was witty in class, that didn’t go over well, either. Funny was for boys, for the class clown doing pratfalls or fart jokes who the teachers would reprimand in this laughing, we’re-not-really-angry kind of way. Everyone acted like it was inappropriate for a girl to be funny, as if I was there to be an audience for the guys, not to be providing comedy myself. It was so unfair! So I did the best I could, tried to get good grades, and was happy being the background character in all the plays.
By my senior year, I was so ready to get out of there and go to college.At Dartmouth, everything was different.I majored in theater. I took writing classes and joined my improv troupe, where gender and how I looked didn’t matter. I finally got to do and express what I was passionate about. The best part? People thought I was funny, and that gave me confidence and made me try more stuff, which made me funnier! I started to realize that high school had made me an expert on how people engage with each other—and those observations would be my recipe for comedy-writing success.
Being expressive is important and I want you to feel like you are worthy of being heard, but there’s value in listening, too. It makes you more perceptive, more sensitive to how people really work. So when you finally take your place in the spotlight—whether it’s doing your own TV show or whatever it turns out to be—you can put all those stored-up goodies to work. And you’ll be so brilliant that no one will be able to look away.
—  Mindy Kaling: How I Used What Sucked About High School to Come Out on Top (x)