Don’t stress it too much
April 29, 2020
The second I walked in the front doors of the high school, I felt like I had something to prove. Was I a complete try-hard? Absolutely. It was more than that, though. I love the culture of East for so many reasons, but at the same time, it often feels like East promotes the concept of being “the best.” In an attempt to compete with my naturally smarter classmates, I took the hardest classes, and ended up doing worse than I would have likely done in classes (specifically math) that were a little more up my alley.
The fact that I have two sisters my same age certainly didn’t help either, and I found myself in a weird Hunger Games type situation where it felt like only one of us could be the “smart” or “best” triplet. In the back of my head, I always knew it was a completely insane way to look at high school. At the same time, growing up, it seemed possible to be an athlete, take hard classes, and have a lot of friends all at once, but the pursuit of that proved to be incredibly hard. High school doesn’t have to be a competition: the second you make it that for yourself, you go down a path that almost always leads to disappointment.
Before high school, I figured that if I didn’t do super well in classes, I at least I had volleyball. Unfortunately, the only time the volleyball team made it past districts was my freshman year. The friendships that I made from the various teams I was on, though, proved to be much more important than the wins and the losses. It just took focusing on myself as a person to realize high school sports are super fun, but losing a game isn’t really that big of a deal.
Once I focused on myself and what made me feel the most successful and happy, I also did better in school because I wasn’t pushing myself past my limits. That’s not to say don’t try in school and push yourself: I still took math classes that were disgusting and I hated, but I wasn’t drowning in work that I couldn’t do, like I was when I was in fast track math freshman year. Even though high school hadn’t by any means been a walk in the park, my grades eventually got where I wanted them to be and I got into the University of Michigan (my dream school). At the end of the day, when you walk out the doors of high school for the last time, you just want to feel like you made the most of the time you were given. You never know when the last time you walk down the halls of EGR will be, so soak it all in, appreciate every single second, and do what makes you happy. High school is so fun, and such a big part of the adolescent life, but it isn’t everything. Don’t be sucked in by the competitive atmosphere of the East. High school is not a competition. Just do the best you can, and be proud of that.