Once Upon A Time, I Was The Academic 'Golden Child,' But No More

Once Upon A Time, I Was The Academic 'Golden Child,' But No More

Remember in elementary school when your family thought of you as the "smart one" and you excelled in school? Yeah, those days are over.


You probably have gone through a similar scenario... you're 10 years old, reading at a high school reading level, and you're thriving. Cut to now, you're a broke, depressed, struggling college student who can't take a standardized test to save your life. This scenario is all too real for a lot of kids around the country, and I've noticed lately that a lot of us are driving the struggle bus.

meanspice / Twitter

How is it that someone can go from excelling in elementary school to being completely average in just a few short years??? We face a crushing blow during high school when we step back and realize "wow we're really NOT the shit... what happened???" For me personally, it's been hard to grasp the fact that we're not really all that our families hyped us up to be, and we're not really as good at school as we thought.

This realization comes with a few downsides:

1) school becomes much harder,

2) you feel like you're letting everyone down and

3) you have to put in twice as much work to get good grades.

My family used to put me on a pedestal and make me feel like I was the smartest kid in our hometown, but I now know that I'm simply just average.

leeman_marcus / Twitter

According to an article on Quora, in the '80s and '90s, "Dr. Sally Reis, U. Connecticut, conducted a long-term study of identified gifted students who were high achievers in elementary school but then failed to achieve well in high school or college." This study found that eventually, the failure of these same students was caused by "excellence without effort" when they were younger. This means that these kids found material so easy, they checked out and ended up not caring about school that much.

I never really realized that I was lazy in elementary school because I found things to be relatively super-easy. This means I never really learned how to study, I never really learned good time-management skills, and I never really learned how to put in the effort and get results out of it. And so when I got to college, it all hit me like a torpedo.

pweenis / Instagram

Now that I've been in college for a year and a half, I've had to come to terms with my struggle. College is incredibly hard, classes are hard, and I have to work harder for the same result. I've realized that I have to get my shit together in order to do well, and I'm prepared to work my ass off next semester in order to get my grades back up (pray for me).

But, look on the bright side: when we come to terms with the fact that we're not ivy-league NASA prodigies, there's so much less pressure and we can actually focus ~more~ on school. Listen up, washed-up first-grade geniuses: we're gonna be fine.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.


Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.



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