I am, too, very guilty of seeing school as a competition that I must come out on top in, but after many steamy showers spent contemplating life's issues I have decided to try and stress less about my grades and simply enjoy the experience as a whole.
Do teens today really experience a more challenging life than teens did a hundred years ago? In some ways, yes they do. In other ways, not even close. And I believe we (adults) must equip them to navigate the pressures of life so they can reduce their "distress."
Though I am not a fan of high school, I feel that it is a comfort zone. It's the same monotonous routine for four years but at least I know what to expect. College signals a new chapter in my life. That excites and terrifies me at the same time.
There is no shame in taking the time to be happy. We won't find the future we have in mind if we just stop searching, working, altogether. But if we calm down and look around, we just might find something better.
It is my firmest hope that if I work hard at whatever it is I am doing at the moment and always watch for when opportunity knocks, I will end up somewhere awesome, regardless of whether I'm a nuclear physicist or starving artist.
The academic competition is intense and in order to keep up the demands of the admissions office we fill our plate to the brim with extracurriculars, SAT prep and community service. You know the deal. They want it, we do it.
That moment had finally come and boy, was I feeling dumb. I used to cringe at the stereotypical slacker who always had those backhanded remarks for the teacher and just didn't want to do anything, but now I realize that at least they were being honest.
So I studied. I wrote practice essays, cleared out my library's SAT prep shelf, and rationed my hours of sleep a little more harshly. I worked my butt off, got the score I wanted, end of story, right? Well... not exactly.
Take a deep breath. Step back. And relax. Forget it all, even just for an instant -- forget the workload, the exams, the intensive four-year high school plan from your counselor, the classes you're planning to take next semester.