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 (: