Entering high school, I was one of the only freshmen in my class who tried my hand at AP classes as a first-year student. I graduated middle school with straight A+’s, and I thought I was able to do anything my mind could bring me to. I was up for any challenge, so I took my chances. I thought I was going to fly by my first semester of high school with no complaints.
Unfortunately, that mentality only brought me so far. Just like that, I was met with my first D- within the second week of school.
What was wrong? I was motivated to work hard, wrote pretty notes, and handed in my assignments on time. I thought to myself, there was no possible way I would get anything less than an A, especially within the very first quarter of high school.
I felt like giving up, but naturally, as someone who is stubborn, that was absolutely not a choice. I worked hard for my scores and grades, regardless of them being perfect or not. I made sure the work I submitted was flawless and understood every bit and piece of the material taught in class. Sometimes I would get better scores, sometimes worse, and sometimes they were still the same. Of course, it was frustrating, but I signed myself up for the courses and practically asked to be busy with piles of homework every night.
The truth is, in this type of environment, sometimes your best is not enough. And that’s okay.
You’re allowed to make mistakes. That’s what you are in school for, to learn. I grew up thinking I had to be a perfectionist in everything in order to succeed and gain respect. There’s going to be competition, that’s inevitable. You are going to meet people who are naturally more capable in some content than you are, but it is not relative to your capabilities as a person.
So take these pieces of advice from someone who has prioritized grades and scores for the longest time. You are entitled to a good night’s sleep. That C- you scored on your biology test isn’t going to matter in the next five years. Know your limits. Work hard, but not too hard, and most of all, obtain good habits that will benefit you in the long run.