Not so “smart”:
Starting in elementary school I hated school. I loved the social part of school and P.E, but that was about it. School was exhausting and I never really focused in class, but I always was first to run the mile or to volunteer to play the whole game at my soccer games. Starting at a young age not being interested in school or trying very hard, as soon as middle school hit I got behind. I started to not be in the same classes as my friends, which made me even less interested in studying and school. Once high school hit and all my friends were in higher classes than me and were starting to think more about life after high school and college it all hit me. I convinced myself I was not “smart enough” because I was comparing myself to my friends who loved school and committed to school at such an early age. It wasn’t that I wasn’t smart, it was the fact that I believed I wasn’t good enough so it was the fear of trying to be better for myself and failing that was holding me back from doing so.
What made me realize who I was and how to do better
The summer going into junior year a few of my lacrosse teammates and I made a very poor decision and got in trouble. (It’s a long story, but short story short: it was bad news). We all couldn’t play in tournaments for spring ball, which was my whole life… so that killed me. Taking time away from those friends/teammates really was painful too. My parents made me get more involved in school and they put me in study groups every day after school as kind of a punishment. I was doing school and nothing else 24/7. After a couple weeks I started talking to those friends/teammates less and blaming it on because my parents weren’t allowing me to, but it was really because I didn’t want to. I started going to office hours with my teachers to have one on one time with them to prep for exams, do extra credit, and just honestly have one on one time with them without the class pressure of asking the wrong question or something. I started to volunteer for the science clubs on the weekends and my leadership’s teacher convinced me to run for student government. I got class president that following semester. I stopped talking to my “cool and popular” friends and started hanging out with my old friends again (who I lost because of the different classes and our different commitment to school). That following semester when it was lacrosse season and I was finally off the hook and wasn’t being punished anymore, my coach talked to me about the season and how he wanted me back to play. I thought about the science club, student government, and college. I had to make a decision for myself to do both or give up lacrosse and continue doing as well academically and being surrounding by people that were very academically driven, unlike my lacrosse team at the time.
My decision surprised even myself:
I talked to my math teacher the most about the decision I had to make. I hated math all my life, until I committed to one on one with him every day after school until I understood everything and every problem in each homework assignment. I would have him assign me extra problems just for more practice. He always told me how much I have grown and that I always had this commitment and I have always been “smart enough” I just didn’t believe I was. I talked to him about my decision and really trusted his judgment… whenever I asked him; you know what his response was? “It is up to you and you only.” A few weeks went by and it was time to decide.
I decided to do both. I played on a club lacrosse team an hour away from my hometown. This team was serious about playing lacrosse and so they were on top of school all the time, so they had more time to practice. I became really close with my coach and teammates. I met with my teachers still every day during lunch and after school, sometimes even before school started in the morning. That next semester I took harder classes to challenge myself. I was in the classes with all my best friends from elementary school and middle school again!
I took a chance to play lacrosse again. Knowing that lacrosse and sports was the thing distracting me from being more involved in school the whole time. I convinced myself that school wasn’t for me and that I wasn’t good enough, because I was comparing myself to my friends that were excelling in school. I learned a lot about myself and who I was by first making the decision that got me in trouble, knowing of the consequences. That I ended up having to face. And second, the decision that I made to play again and still is academically successful. Being so busy and keeping my schedule really helped me figure out who I am and what I need to be successful in my sport life and my academic life. Having this as a story in my life that really shaped me for the better has taught me so many things of how to look at life and having something to be proud of. In the Ted talk by Brene Brown, she talks about the power of vulnerability. She said that a lot of people have fear to be vulnerable and have a fear of connecting to people through vulnerability because we have a fear of not being worthy of connecting with each other, so we are disconnected because of lack of showing our vulnerability to each other. It is a crazy thing to be honest and she put it into words perfectly. When I was playing lacrosse I didn’t show people that I wanted to thrive in lacrosse so much because I was afraid if I didn’t then I didn’t have a future for after high school. After being vulnerable and letting that guard and fear down of not being smart enough or worthy of being as smart as all my friends, I really became smart enough for myself. I finally learned how to not compare myself to everyone else and realized everyone is smart in his or her own way. A big thing for me was learning to accept failure. You have to try things even if there is a possibility of failing. When you fail you learn. In the article we read by Brene Brown, she asks, “do we have the courage to show up, be seen, take risks, ask for help, own our mistakes, learn from failure, lean into joy, and can we support the people around us in doing the same?” I agreed a lot with everything in this article. Especially the part where she was saying that in today’s world vulnerability is paired with weakness. This relates to me and my story a lot because, I struggled with trying when I had lacrosse or to show vulnerability to my coach, my family, my friends, and most importantly myself. I learned how to do this from putting my priorities in line after getting in trouble, and letting myself be vulnerable enough to reach out for help lead to where I am today. My greatest accomplishment was to get accepted to the University of Colorado, Boulder because this has been my dream school since I went to my first Buffs football game at age 6.
http://www.closetoclassy.com/2016/05/college/ This is an amazing blog post. She had the same fear. The fear of not being smart enough. She was told, “college isn’t for everyone.” And she convinced herself that was her fate. It shows a women getting over the thought of failing and just doing something even if you could fail. “You are limited only by your own fears” she says. It is so true. If you are afraid to try something because you are afraid to fail, you will never know how great you could really be at something.
https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_st_john_s_8_secrets_of_success?language=en : Richard says to be successful is, passion, work, and focus. To be good at something you have to believe you can and you will succeed. This video is good because it is not too long; it’s short and gets straight to the point and it is really the top three things you need to follow to begin your journey in being successful.