Have you ever looked over at the student who has everything; perfect grades, does every extracurricular under the sun, has their whole future planned out, and thought I wish that was me? I know I did.
Everything just looked so easy for them. But while I sat in class gazing across at the school prefect and imagining myself in their place, somehow I managed to miss some important things. I didn’t see the dark circles under their eyes, or the stress they had when an assignment deadline clashed with one of their other commitments. I only saw their success, and I wanted to have that kind of success.
For a while, I somehow managed to be the ‘perfect student’. I came first in four of my six subjects and took on more extracurriculars than I ever had before. But the big question is, was it worth it?
In all honesty, no.
Whilst it felt good achieving so much, the pressure was so intense to maintain such a high standard throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to succeed but I didn’t really know how stressful it would turn out to be.
School work was never naturally easy for me, so very quickly, the workload piled up. To take on the huge workload I had to give up all my weekends to try and catch up. I had no time for friends or any of the things I actually enjoyed doing- there was only time for studying.
My view on my grades changed drastically. Anything less than the highest grade was a failure for me, no matter how hard I worked or how much effort I put in. I got the least amount of sleep I ever have and was always under some form of stress, which meant I spent most of my time just trying to power through the next thing I had to do.
My life had become completely unbalanced, school became everything, and I let go of a lot of things that made me happy. Basically, it was a pretty shitty time.
When you get out into the real world, you’ll realise that it’s the experiences you had when you were young that really matter to you, not the grades you got. That’s why you have to find time to do the things that make you happy. I’m not saying don’t try, or that school isn’t worth putting your effort into. What I am saying is that just because you’re not topping the class in every subject doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.
The truth is, it’s okay to not be the perfect student. Everyone has their own struggles and being the perfect student isn’t going to magically fix all your problems. There will still be sleepless nights and cramming sessions and stress.
What will help you out is finding the balance that everyone talks about. The fine line between trying hard and pushing yourself over the edge. It’s hard to work out how to find that balance- how are you meant to juggle sleep, assignments, exams, sport, work, major works and regular classes when sometimes you barely have enough energy or time to get one sheet of homework done??
It’s tough but you’ll figure it out. You just have to remember that in 20 years’ time you’re not going to be remembering your grades, what mark you got for your major work or whether you answered every question in class. You’ll remember the times that your friends made you laugh until your stomach hurt and when you went for your first drive on your Ps. You’ll remember family dinners with your parents and ‘study sessions’ with your mates where you end up doing shit all study. That stuff is more important than being the ‘perfect student’, trust me.
photo cred: candidly-mine