By: Julia Patterson
“Of course SHE did good, she always gets A’s.” “Wait, I did better than you? That never happens.” “You got a 98? How, that test was so hard!”
Phrases like these are commonly heard for students with high grades. For some, these grades come easy; but for others, this is not the case. Many students, myself included, spend countless hours late at night studying and trying to comprehend complex subjects. Hearing terms of endearment such as, “Oh, a 98? Great job,” celebrate one’s accomplishments, while ones like, “Of course you got an A”, simply do the opposite. This article is not to come off as “braggy,” but simply to inform others that words can hurt, and provide a new perspective on your school’s typical “nerd.”
On the outside, a classmate may recognize me as the smart, “nerdy” girl- a tryhard. Little do they see of me hunched over textbooks, oftentimes tears streaming down my face. I am far from being “naturally smart.” By doing my homework, attending my school’s opportunity period (similar to office hours), and studying until I fully understand a subject, I feel as though I get out what I am putting in. Fortunately, my parents don’t pressure me like I know other parents do. I put pressure on myself. I know that by staying up until 2 or 3 am memorizing information, I will get a better grade. I know this will improve my GPA. However, I forget the toll that this pressure to “live up to my potential” takes on my mental- and physical health. AP kids need to ask ourselves — is the risk worth the reward?
In other words, how many hours of sleep, meals skipped, tears lost, is worth an A? And for student-athletes, coming home after a long game to hours of homework and preparation for tests the following day is exhausting. Personally, as a lacrosse goalie for my high school, I feel completely drained after a week packed with practices and games, along with the stress from schoolwork. At times, this stress can feel overwhelming. Stress is something everyone experiences. Unfortunately for some, this stress can physically and mentally tear someone apart. While stressed at school, my acne increased exponentially, I lost sleep, and overall just lost myself. I lost the healthy habits I worked so hard to establish.
After realizing this, I began looking to find a balance. I learned to manage my time in order to keep up my grades, while doing more things I enjoy and need to stay healthy, like sleeping. Through this, I discovered that finding a balance is what I needed to be happy.
With self-reflection, I realize that my health is not worth risking for a high mark on a test. I discovered that I need to spend more time doing activities I love, like spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and taking some time to focus on myself. Every day is special. Instead of stressing over a grade, do something you love.