Beyond black cats

From lucky clothing items to energizing crystals, students use all sorts of superstitions in their daily activities

Tvisha Gupta

 Junior Shreya Akshintala sorts through her closet, rummaging past all her clothing items to pick out a specific pair of socks and a shirt, her go-tos for karate competitions. Although she feels nervous about it, she knows that with the power of her special shirt and sock combination, luck is on her side.

Ever since middle school, Akshintala says that she’s won every time she’s worn those clothing items, and that it has evolved into a superstition.

“For competition, … [my charms] haven’t failed me yet,” Akshintala said. 

Akshintala says her superstitions’ calming and confidence-boosting qualities help boost her performance when she follows them, rather than when she doesn’t.

“Superstition[s] [are] just something that you hold true to yourself and you believe in, even if it doesn’t really have any sense,” Akshintala said. “You just do it because you’re worried about what would happen if you didn’t do it.” 

For senior Rishik Srivatsa, his superstitions aid him in reducing his nerves, help him feel more confident about his tests and provide him with a sense of control.

Graphic | Aditya Shukla

“Before an important test … I wear a hair tie most days just for good luck,” Srivastava said. “It’s had a positive impact on my test performance … I feel good about going into the test.” 

Wearing the color black, putting on an energetic song by artist Travis Scott and eating one bowl of Cheerios in the morning are other superstitions he follows, which he finds help positively influence his academic performance.

Similarly, sophomore Farida Shady uses her crystal-laden bracelets to radiate positivity and encouragement in her life. Initially, Shady carried her crystals in her backpack, but since she started wearing them, she says she has seen an increase in her productivity, motivation and courage.

“They give me good energy which gives me encouragement for tests and projects,” Shady said. “It makes me feel better about my day.”

On the other hand, Akshintala mentions that not following her superstitions tends to have a negative effect on her performance.

“I think that it’s just mind over matter … when you do them,” Akshintala said. “You feel clear-headed and confident going in — you have the superstitions on your side. When you don’t do them, it just creates another mental block that you have to overcome so that’s made my performance decline.”

While Srivastava also acknowledges that not following his superstitions tends to have an adverse impact on his performance, he says they ultimately have a positive effect on not only his academic performance, but also on his life in general. 

“Most of the time … I put myself in a good mood,” Srivastava said. “I feel good, I look good, I do good — that sort of mentality. It reminds me that I’m OK. It’s going to be alright.”