I always love hearing stories from peers and colleagues about inspirational teachers they had growing up-- inspiring them for future careers, and telling them to always "reach for the stars". I never really had that, no teacher really expected much from me, nor encouraged me to "reach for the stars".
So, in turn, being a young kid, I believed them, and I never thought much of myself when it came to academia. I continued on from middle school into High School with this self-imposed identity of a low-achiever. Although my family and friends had always been loving, they never expected much from me, and therefore I didn't either. When I wouldn't thrive academically, they would always playfully resort back to the phrase-- that slowly became a sense of my identity, "Well, at least you're pretty".
Soon enough, I grew to accept that false identity. Throughout high school, I associated with low-achievers, because I thought I'd feel accepted. Teachers would then encourage me to continue with my artwork and singing, and say that was my strong suit, and I should "just stick with that". Now, being artistic is an amazing gift, I'm not undermining this, but why couldn't I have both? I didn't second guess my teachers, and continued on, not expecting anything from myself when it came to grades.
Then finally something switched, I saw friends getting accepted into their dream universities, and begin fulfilling their dreams. So I was fed up, my whole mindset changed. I was done feeling sorry for myself.
I began to surround myself with friends who inspired me to work hard and take on new challenges. I found myself achieving my goals and found the confidence I never experienced before. Now, I was the hardworking student who inspired others; receiving praise from my professors for always going above and beyond and setting a great example for my fellow peers.
I became a leader and had systematically rejected and overcome the negative stereotypes that had surrounded and immobilized me.
Thank you to the teachers who didn't believe I'd come this far. All of this helped me to thrive under pressure and made me realize I was capable of so much more than you told me I was.
I have no resentments to all the teachers who never believed in me. I thank you for the whirlwind of a journey you took me on with finding confidence in not only my academics but myself as a whole. Hearing for years that, "you're not smart enough", "some people are just inherently brilliant and some aren't", "just marry a smart guy", and "maybe college just isn't for you".
Sadly it took me a while to figure this out, some people, like myself, might have to work a lot harder to get that A. This has given me the capability to work harder than I ever thought possible, not only in academics, but everyday life--working out, helping others, work, and so many more activities. Taking that drive and-- I know it's a cliche, but as my Dad would always say-- "If you set your mind to something, there's nothing you can't do".