Tag Archives: school

A Fear of Inadequacy

The sticky note of inadequacy.

I don’t claim to be a perfectionist. I’m just afraid of being inadequate.

Conversation 1:

(in the car)

“Mom: I saw John* at the track the other day.

Me: …

Mom: He was running with the cross country team. That boy works so hard. Remember at the awards ceremony? He got awards in science and math. You didn’t get any awards in science or math. He gets straight A’s too, and he works so hard outside of school. You just sit around all day. Why don’t you do anything?

Me: …

Mom: Remember Amy*, my friend’s daughter? She got accepted to a prestigious private college. She didn’t even go to high school. Why can’t you be more like her? Why can’t you…”

You know that saying that there’s always someone better than you? Ever since Kindergarten I’ve had that saying drilled into my head. Whether it be my brother, my best friend, or my neighbor’s kid, my mom has always negatively compared me to others. She’s done it so many times not only am I afraid of what she’ll do when I fall short, but I punish myself as well.

Conversation 2:

(at lunch)

“Me: Oh my gosh, I got a B+ on the Chemistry test, what am I going to do?

Friend: I got a B on that test. Don’t worry about it, you’ll pull it up like always… wait, why aren’t you eating?

Me: I can’t eat, I have to study. My mom will kill me once she gets the grade report. I have to do better next time. I have to work harder. I have to…”

Last year I received a C on a geometry test. It was the first C I had ever gotten during my high school career. When my teacher handed me the paper, I literally felt like my life was caving in. I know it sounds melodramatic now, but at the time I couldn’t even think about anything other than how angry my mom would be. I immediately asked my teacher to go to the restroom, where I proceeded to lock myself in a stall and cry for fifteen minutes.

Remember this? Hopefully Precalc with Trig Honors won't be too bad this year... (image via benjaminhurt.com)

If you think I’m a crybaby because of that incident, I don’t blame you. After much stress I ended up with an A for the quarter and an A for the course. Looking back on that over-dramatic, teenage-hormone induced moment when I imagined my life was ruined forever, there is one piece of advice I would give myself.

There is always going to be someone better than you, but there’s always someone out there who’s worse than you or worse off than you are. I run the risk of sounding like a snob, but it’s true. After all those years of self-deprecating and living in constant fear of not being the best, I’ve realized that I should be thankful for any and all the opportunities life has given me. I’ve been so self-absorbed in my own insignificant problems that I failed to see just how lucky I am.

My Prince O3 Speedport Black racquet. Oh baby.

Who cares if my mom complains I’m not #1 on the tennis team? At least I made it. So what if she yells at me for not having the highest grade in AP US History? At least I have access to a quality education, unlike a myriad of unfortunate souls elsewhere.

So, from now on, I’m going to try my best to accept my shortcomings and strive to improve them without being too hard on myself. It’s the effort that counts, right?

What do you think of perfectionism? Do you have a fear of failure or know someone that does?

*names changed for the sake of anonymity.

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My 2011-2012 School Year Resolutions

As an Asian a hard-working student, the end of summer and the beginning of the school year is an important time. Summer break is rapidly coming to a close, with only a little more than a week before school starts (September 6, for me). I figured this was a good time to write down some of my priorities – academic and non-academic – so I can come back to this post at the end of the calendar year and evaluate my failure success.

Before I forget, I’ll be a junior in high school. And you know what that means…

I'll get through these... eventually.

1. Study and succeed on the SAT, especially math. Okay, I’ve taken the SAT once already and scored decently… excluding the math section. I received a 590 (72%), paling in comparison to my performance on the reading and writing sections. I’m aiming for a 650, and people I’ve talked to say that to achieve that score only requires a lot of practice. Which brings us to #2…

The summer assignment I finally finished yesterday. Expect a review soon...

2. Stop procrastination. This is probably the most unrealistic goal on the list – I doubt anyone could completely staunch the desire to put things off until the next day, but it’s worth a shot. With three AP classes and two honors courses I’ll need to get things done as soon as possible, and hopefully after posting this I’ll at least get things done sooner than I usually do. Because when it all piles up, things turn nasty…

3. Don’t overreact. The Rapture turned out to be fake, and I bet I’ll live through 2012 and beyond. However, sometimes in my most stressed-out moments I cannot help but feel like the world is ending and everything I’ve worked for will turn into dust. It’s one of the few things I admit to inheriting from my mom: the tendency to blow things out of proportion when I’m overwhelmed. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few methods to cope with this, like focusing my attention on something else and transitioning into another activity. Speaking of activities…

4. Continue blogging. I might not be able to post daily or every other day like I have been lately, but I’ll definitely continue to post once a week or more. I love sharing my thoughts on various subjects through this blog, and I’m so appreciative of all the feedback I’ve received and the readers I’ve gained.

5. Stop self-deprecating. More on that here.

Enough about me. What are your school year/end of summer resolutions? Do we have any in common?

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