Choosing between deadlines and due dates or fun with friends

Why I stopped being The Perfect Student

What is The Perfect Student, exactly? Is it someone who gets their two-year degree before the end of high school? Someone who has a perfect GPA with a giant list of extracurricular activities under their belt? Someone who turns in all their assignments on time, and who never ditches class?

Here’s my answer: The Perfect Student is overrated.

Sophomore and junior year can be awful. As soon as you think you’re ready to dive head first into the great big high school pond, it’s easy to end up drowning in homework and tests and AP classes and clubs and sports and work. I don’t doubt there’s tons of people who know the feeling of your eyes fighting to stay open at two in the morning because you have to get at least a B on your Chemistry 1110 exam to keep your A. Maybe it was for AP World History, or Med Term, or for all of them. I know the feeling too.

So I’m not sure if this is unique to me, or if everyone who has been stressed out way too much did it too, but it must have been somewhere between the end of junior year and the beginning of senior year that I had a rather large realization:

People do care, but not about the things I thought they did. They care about having fun and learning. They care about getting great friends and trying new things. Before, I was trying to force myself to do these things. But there’s more to life than yelling at people to kiss at a football game. And there’s probably more to life than skipping that football game to go to drive around Ogden and Roy on a Friday night, but at least I’m doing what I want to do.

And this wasn’t some big revelation that came to me in a rush. I realized it, slowly, but surely. And now I’m happy. I probably shouldn’t ditch class as much as I do, and I should stay more on top of article deadlines. But I’m happy.

So what’s my point, exactly?

It’s important to apply yourself in any situation, including in high school. But applying yourself doesn’t always translate to taking on more than you can handle. It can be hard, with the giant push for concurrent and AP classes, and parents and teachers telling you that you could try harder in most situations. I support anyone who wants to take on what I, and many other students, have. But I also completely understand the appeal in having a good time with life, and everyone else will, too.

What you do in high school won’t be important when you’re 40 and married with kids and a career. Or when you’re 22 and studying abroad. That extra concurrent class isn’t going to make or break your college career. If you don’t have time for FCCLA or HOSA or DECA, don’t try to do them. Odds are, you can’t give your 100% to all of the things you have going on, and that’s not only unfair to yourself, but also everyone else involved in the same clubs or groups.

Maybe this sounds like just a rant, but I’m trying to let any student who’s stressing out know that this, whatever this is, isn’t as crucial as you think it is.

At the end of the day, please just try to do what you want to do, and only as much as you can personally handle. Life’s simpler that way, and most of us could use a little ease.

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