Especially at the school I go to, but honestly anywhere, there is cut throat competition to get the best grades, foster meaningful relationships with teachers, and build an impeccable resume. Doing poorly on a test or assignment feels 100% worse when everyone around you killed it… For me, I feel like I have to study twice as hard as my classmates to ensure that I’ll be the most prepared. These tendencies start to become unhealthy, defeating, and just detrimental to one’s head space, destroying the whole point of going school. I think it’s probably impossible to change the preexisting nature of this reality but it’s best to recognize it is a problem and try to cope. Here are 3 needed reminders that will hopefully keep you from drowning in stress and the suffocating, competitive atmosphere.
1. Do well for yourself: These days it feels like everything’s about college and everyone has their own expectations of you, it’s so hard to distinguish what others want from you from what you want for yourself. in the end, if you’re only doing well for your parents, teachers, or to surpass classmates then you’ll never feel successful or content.
2. Study ‘smart’, not hard: (i’m still trying to figure this one out) but the gist is that you can bust your butt “studying” unproductively. Really your infinitely scrolling through Quizlet, creating excuses to interrupt work periods, and going in circles trying to crack down. I figured out this was ‘studying hard’ because I was trying hard. The night before a due date i kept feeling like all my classmates were in a better position than me. To ‘study smart’ means you have to be clear on guidelines and work through the details in increments of whatever you may be preparing for, rather than piling up a mountain of information.
3. Making mistakes and failing are ok: Yea… I know it’s cliche, but we all make mistakes. The pressure to be the perfect student causes us to magnifies our little errors occur, completely altering our mindsets so we never remind ourselves that they’re inevitable. Careless mistakes, stupid mistakes. They suck, they make us feel embarrassed and annoyed but we make them. Failing is the same thing… we’ll never know what it’s like to succeed if we’ve never failed. Let the low moments inspire and motivate you to modify your work ethic and propel you to success.
In the end, all I’m saying is that the nonstop hustle and grind around you doesn’t take breathers… not even during summer because everyone’s enrolled in some (fill in the black) summer program. Like everything in life, we’re the most cruel to ourselves and we forget to take a little break. Be proud of your hard work and tremendous effort, but never loose sight of your intentions… oh and #4. Smile!
You got this,