I have been fearful of failure since the first day of high school. My parents sent me to the most rigorous high school in my hometown, Rufus King High School. The prestige that Rufus King holds was always at the forefront of my mind and I convinced myself, I don't have it in me. I didn't feel like I belonged.
Freshman year of high school, I was surrounded by people who worked hard to get the grades they got, and with my insecurities of not being good enough in school, I continued to compare myself to the students around me.
This highly affected my academic performance. Each day I asked myself why I couldn't just quickly understand the material like the other students around me. I continued to get mediocre grades throughout high school, lower than three-point grade averages, essentially I was your average student. I continued to tell myself that "school wasn't for me".
Struggling with anxiety throughout high school greatly impacted the way I viewed my academic performance. Getting a B was never good enough for me. I always wanted to be better. To do better. I needed to be enough for myself. I continued to struggle with this anxiety in my first semester of college while it got increasingly worse.
I developed obsessive habits when it came to studying and my grades. I would reject plans with friends to stay in and study more, even though I studied 8 hours the previous day, it just wasn't enough. Most of the time I spent 8-10 hours studying and doing assignments a day.
I remember getting B+'s on my English papers and it frustrated me beyond belief. Anything but an A was never good enough for me, and when I would get lower than an A, I would overthink and stress about my grades even more.
I remember taking my Spanish exam this semester and calling my mom crying after thinking I failed the exam. In reality, I got a B. My obsession with my grades continued. I would check the website that kept all of our grades almost 10 or more times a day to see if any grades have been updated.
Even though all of the hours I was studying was toxic to my mental health, my first semester of college grades finally started to reflect the effort I was putting in, which increased my confidence.
When I heard I had to take Spanish in college, I panicked. It was the class that gave me the most anxiety. I didn't know what to do, and I felt all of my new found confidence decrease immediately. I wanted to make myself proud but most importantly, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. So really the root of my anxiety stemmed from 'me' not being enough for 'myself'.
I remember the day where I received one of my quizzes back in Spanish, and in red on the top of my paper, it said 67 percent. I panicked and quickly crumbled it in my backpack. The next day, I spent eight hours studying for the following quiz. The following week I took the quiz and received a 90 percent.
I realized sometimes you need to fail in order to be better, and I learned this lesson throughout my first semester of college. This was the moment I knew I wasn't scared of failure anymore. This is the moment I realized I had to believe in myself in order to be successful.
In high school, I had the mindset of, if I were to get a bad grade, I would let it eat me away. I wanted to give up and when I would, my grades would reflect that. I told myself I couldn't do it, so I didn't. In high school, I struggled with confidence and self-love, especially academically.
In my current state of mind, as I approach the end of my first semester of college, I can honestly say I am proud of my failures because they have made me stronger.
My struggles have made me appreciate the long nights of staying up and studying and creating hundreds of flashcards a night. I realized it is okay not to be one of the kids who listens to it once and can remember it forever.
College made me realize you are going to have your good days and bad, but the way you deal with those bad days will define the good. I can confidently say I'm proud of myself, for my failures and my successes.
My first semester of college brought me this new found confidence I've never had academically. I ended my semester with a 3.6. I know this was due to my obsessive behaviors in which I spent every day and every hour studying, but I finally felt confident with myself and my abilities.
Yes, I continue to struggle with obsessing over my grades and GPA, but I am getting stronger and I am dedicating next semester to find healthier ways to succeed.