Life…Purpose and Direction

1 Dec

So life has been kind of rough lately.

College deadlines are fast approaching, grade pressures are at an all time high, and anxiety permeates every part of my and other senior’s lives. I’ve been feeling like crap for the past few days and have cried more than I have in the past few months combined…and yet I can’t pinpoint an exact reason.

The SAT Subjects tests aren’t that important. I know that.

Grades aren’t worth beating myself up about them. I know that.

Application essays aren’t the deciding factor of my admission or my life. I know that.

And apparently, the college I go to for undergrad doesn’t even really matter that much. So why do I always spiral into never-ending whirlpools of self-loathing, fear, and doubt? Because when everything is individualized, I acknowledge that each is not life-or-death important. But once everything is combined, it’s suddenly a collection of my inadequacy. It’s proof on paper of how I can never be good enough, right there alongside my pathetic compilation of barely completed essays.

I know no one wants to read a self-thrown pity party. I am however going to take a segway real quick and try to figure out who I am really doing all this for-does my need for success stem from needing to please others, or myself?

I don’t think I really strive for success to please my parents-I’m actually getting a little fed up with their method of parenting. Neither of my parents really put any effort into seeing how I’m doing in school. Besides continually asking how much homework I have each night, they never prompt more when I always answer “some”-which is perhaps why I never offer more myself. They don’t inquire about upcoming tests or quizzes or help me with homework and studying, but still reprimand me when my grades aren’t so great. Today my father interrogated me on how much of my SAT review book I had gone through-an hour after I had already taken the test. As their child, I’m not a machine where they can press a button and expect a prize to come out without any effort on their part. They care, yet they don’t try. And regretfully, that attitude has been passed on to me.

I also don’t really feel like I’m mature enough to be aware if I strive for greatness for myself. When I picture getting 100’s in all my classes, I imagine pure joy. Yet when I snap out of the daydream, I don’t feel any renewed motivation to try harder in school. I don’t use stress as a motivator to push myself harder; stress to me is instead like a bulldozer, crushing me into the ground while I remain helpless. I don’t know if I’m simply unable to turn anxiety into a good thing, or if I just don’t because everything seems too hard-but every time I question whether I’m trying enough, I assure myself that it’s just laziness, which makes me feel even worse.

When I imagine getting into a bad school, all that comes to mind is all of my peers getting into better schools. That’s all I’ve become consumed with-not the value of my own education, but whether it’s good enough compared to everyone else’s. I do things to prove to myself and others that yes, I am capable. If I do bad on a test, I don’t feel bad if I know I still did better than everyone else in my class. I don’t live by looking at my life-I live looking at everyone else’s.

Anyways, what I’ve come to realize is that this mindset needs to stop. I don’t know where my self-confidence went, if I ever even had any at all, but I cannot let negativity permeate into my future, especially in college.

Everyone has felt inadequacy before. But what one does with his or her past is what defines his or her future. Whatever I do from this point forward, it should be for me. And I need to set some goals-and start coming up with reasons for why I strive to achieve them.

I hope that if any of you can empathize with my emotions here, that even if I can’t admit it to myself yet, you come to realize that nothing is worth too much stress. You do have self-worth and if you’re in the same habits as I am, stop comparing yourself to other people around you. College application season makes everyone painfully aware of the competition around them, and simply looking at people supposedly better than you is just taking a lit match to your own self-esteem.

My best regards for anyone feeling pressured, and I invite you to drop me a comment so I can see how many of you share the same feelings! As always, thank you so much for reading (:

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3 Responses to “Life…Purpose and Direction”

  1. itsalovelydaytoday December 2, 2012 at 6:43 PM #

    I’ve been feeling a similar way although I am a Junior in college. For me this week is finals and I have been trying to juggle what seems to be a thousand tasks and still stay afloat. The only way I ever feel I can really take a breath and be normal is when I, like you, try to put things into perspective. It’s hard to do during that moment when you are freaking out though, when so many things are going on at once and all you want to do is survive. But when I can, if I can, just put into perspective how insignificant all the things I am worrying about are in retrospect to my entire life things seem to get much better. Like if I don’t do well on a final, will I care or even remember when I am 30, 40, 50? Will it still bother me on my wedding day? Will all my friends think less of me? Nope! Also as far as getting into a good college I have some advice on that. The school you go to doesn’t matter, it is only the effort that you put into your school that does. For me, I decided to go to community college my senior year because 1. I wanted to continue to compete in my gymnastics team which was local. 2. to save money and 3. Because I knew I would still be getting a good education. I will say I have encountered many people who have openly told me, or implied with a condescending undertone, that community college is “less”, but it isn’t so. As a junior this term I just transferred to a very high ranked university and the teachers here are just as equal to those I found at my community college. (Although of course because of the school’s size the teacher student ratio is 1 to 200, rather then 1 to 20 like in cc.) Sure people will judge, maybe your friends/classmates will get into a “better” school then you, but the extent to which you learn, grow, and find success is not based on the school, teachers, or your parents. Like my dad always tells me, interest in school is just like interest earned at the bank. The more you put in, the more you get out. Sometimes it was hard for me to have people think that way about my education, but if you think about it, most of the top universities are just like popular brand names. My university now is like a pair of nike shoes, while my community college was just a generic brand of equal quality, but without prestige and recognition. Silly analogy, but you get the idea. 🙂 Also don’t forget, a “C” that was worked incredibly hard for is much more valuable then an easy “A”. While some people will interepret your intelligence by your report card, the people who really matter will recognize it on their own.
    Anyways… Sorry for the loooong comment.
    But good luck on managing your stress and on your college future!

    • curryforyourthoughts December 2, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

      Hi there! Thank you so much for your comment, it made me feel so much better! It’s true, grades are kind of insignificant when it comes to the bigger things in life. Also I completely agree with what you said about colleges; when you’re in the push-and-shove stage of trying to get in, it feels like getting into the best school possible is vital, but it truly is about how well you do at any school. I’ve been worrying so much about having a “name-brand” college, like you said (by the way your analogy is perfect!), that I’ve forgotten about what it’s really about – education. That’s something I really needed to hear. Really, your entire comment is filled with so much insight and so many wise words, so thank you so much (:

  2. Thomas December 4, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    Yes yes yes, I love your response to the above individual’s comment. Every time you find yourself comparing yourself to others, just step back and say “what are my goals? what do I (emphasis on I) want? How can I work to get there?” You are super smart and I know you will be successful, which is why I accepted to write your rec! Also because you’re my best friend and because I knew you would have to buy me a book-related gift… just kidding. Sort of.

    Also, love the meow tag!

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