Better Than Myself

September 8, 2016

“But I’m not as good as the other kids in my class!” I shouted as tears flooded my eyes. “I’m going to fail this class, I just know it.” My head falls straight into my hands and I begin to cry even more. A well known mantra, “Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people” are words that I think people should live by. Somehow I continue to compare myself to others when it is only hurting myself. I feel like most kids do this at my age, so I feel like what I’m doing is normal, but I somehow keep doing it which continues to hurt me. Mrs. Kolcz starts typing into her keyboard and a picture of me with my name greets me on the screen.

“Honey, you have a 93% in HONORS English. You’re doing fine. Holy crap! A 103% in World Studies? You are worried about 103%? You have an “A” in two classes already. You are doing exceptionally well for a person who is as busy as you. I don’t know what you might be seeing, but I see a very intelligent girl when I look at these grades. I think that you should stop being so hard on yourself.” Mrs. Kolcz looks at me sweetly as an expression of empathy and shock washes across her face.

“Well, everyone else in the class has the knowledge of a 12th grader and some even have college level smarts and--”

“Everyone?” She smirks at me as I begin to realize that I’m overreacting just a little bit.

“Well, not everybody, but it's the same thing! I don’t know what happened. I was in the top 10 percent in my Reading and Writing class in 7th and 8th grade and now I look like an idiot compared to everyone else. I know I could do better. I just know it. I mean, look at my grades in the past. It’s my first year of highschool and my English teacher probably thinks I’m not even made to be in honors. After looking at the other students’ scores, she probably thinks I need extra work. And maybe I do. I don’t know. All I know is with these scores, I look like I’m stupid.” I breathe in a breath of air after the last words of my rant have left my mouth. She looks at me as if she is analyzing a chart with information that’s complex and hard to understand.

“You are doing perfectly fine, better than the average student. You have a lot on your plate right now and you still manage to have excellent grades that most of my students can’t achieve. Why can’t you see how good you are doing in your first weeks of high school?”

“I - I don’t know. Teachers have told me a million times that I’m hard on myself and that I have a low self esteem but I just don’t get how to fix it. I’ve tried and tried for the last few years but I just keep staying the same.” A look of hopelessness spreads across my face as more and more tears trickle down my cheek and make my face turn to a bright red. I still struggle with my self confidence day after day, and it causes me to be very hard on myself and doubt myself. When I doubt myself, my stress level goes up and I go into a downward spiral that feeds into my low self confidence. One of the only ways that I cope with my stress is by communicating with my teachers and having them reassure me not to worry and to help me get back on my feet. And that’s exactly was Mrs. Kolcz did. She helps me calm down and makes a plan which left me feeling less stressed, which overall boosts my self confidence. Though I struggle with self confidence and managing my stress level immensely, I feel that in the future I will have the potential to do just as good as any other student my age, or better.

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