About a week ago I received my final college admission decision in the mail and I’m pleased to say that I got into all the colleges I applied to. I am very proud of myself but I am also really excited. I mean, hello, who wouldn’t be? This is ONLY the next big step of my life here. A while after finding out, I decided to share my excitement with my friends through Snapchat. I snapped a quick picture of my acceptance packet and posted it on my story. A few minutes after posting the picture, I received a message from a friend of mine who is just now finishing up her freshman year of high school. Her first few messages were really just clarifying what I had posted and asking about where I intend on going but soon after the messages became sort of self deprecating. At one point she said “wow I WISH I was that smart.”
As someone who has struggled with doubting my abilities, doubting my intelligence, doubting any possibility that I would even get into college, and most of all comparing my successes and failures with those of others, her comment didn’t sit well with me.
Why is it that people who have barely even started high school are left with no positivity; no hope that there is still room to improve? Why do we tell high school students that their even if they tried their hardest, the grade they earned isn’t good enough? Why are we so quick to discourage students and yet so demanding of them to work hard and to want a future that won’t come easy?
Shouldn’t we be telling students that as long as they tried their hardest and will continue to try their hardest, any work they do and any effort they put in is valid? I think we should be. High school is such a weird time in life, you’re growing and defining yourself and determining who you want to be and what you want to do and sometimes that experience in and of itself can be pretty daunting. Couple that experience with the constant comments about not being good enough or not working hard enough or not being smart enough and your motivation is completely down the drain. At some point during high school, you learn that all you can do is try your best. You learn that you ARE smart enough and that you do have the ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to. You learn that your successes and failures are not defined by those of other people and you that those successes and failures can’t be compared. Also, something that’s really important, you learn that sometimes college isn’t for everyone. Everyone has their own path in life and everyone’s heart is set on something different. Some people want to pursue a career that requires a college education and some don’t. That’s okay. As long as you do something you love and you’re enjoying yourself and taking care of yourself, there’s no one who can tell you that your path is wrong.
So to that friend of mine,
You ARE that smart. If school isn’t for you, don’t stress. You’re going to find out soon enough that there are a lot of other options in life. Don’t get discouraged just yet. You still have a long way to go.