I should be writing roughly 19 pages for one of my classes right now to get done by Tuesday, but instead my head is spinning with thoughts of failure and regret.
I’ve always been an impeccable student. It’s what I’ve prided myself on for years. It was my thing. I was certainly never good at sports and really just mediocre in my artistic pursuits, but school was what I could do. I got good grades in everything. I graduated 13th in my class of almost 500 in high school and got into a good college.
My first big blow came freshman year when I realized school didn’t come as easily to me anymore. I got a B for the first time ever. I had to study for hours, write and rewrite, and often get results with which I was not pleased. I’d be lying if I said this isn’t some of what factored into me becoming unhappy with NYU — I wasn’t the best anymore, I was just in the middle.
When I made the decision to leave and come to DePaul, oftentimes friends and acquaintances of mine wouldn’t necessarily scoff at my decision, but there was definitely some judgment to their tone oftentimes. Oh DePaul, that’s nothing compared to NYU. There’s a very good chance this could’ve all been in my head as well, because for the longest time that’s also what I thought.
I remember a genuine conversation I had with a friend in the dining hall of my dorm building before I left for that summer — and for good — about transferring to DePaul.
“Well you’ll be the best there,” she said, encouragingly.
And that was my plan. If I was going to go to DePaul, I was going to graduate with the highest honors, there was no question about it. I was going to come out on top.
I’ve realized I’ve always been an extremely competitive person, it’s a shame my mother never let me do sports as a child, I most certainly would’ve killed some six-year-olds on the soccer field to win. I’ve never been directly competing against others, but in some sick and twisted way I have. Oh that one girl got a job the day after graduation? Well I have to too. You had four internships? I’ll have six. Oh he graduated magna cum laude? I’ll graduate summa cum laude.
But mostly I’ve been competing against myself, beating myself up to be the best. I’ve been told roughly 500 times at this point that your GPA doesn’t matter when you’re getting a job — especially in media — but I was never doing it for anyone else. My parents never pushed me to get all A’s in my classes, I did it because I wanted to, because I had to. I’m my own self-inflicted brand of crazy.
I’m now here at 9 p.m. on a sunday night, with less than 48 hours until all of my work is due for winter quarter and all I can do is calculate my grades, my expected grades, and what grades I need to get my desired GPA. Don’t believe those suckers who say you don’t need algebra in the real world, the greatest thing eighth grade math taught me was how to psychotically calculate grades.
The conclusion I’ve come to at this point is that it’s fairly unlikely I’m going to graduate without the highest honors I can receive, I’ll probably just miss the cut. But the funny thing is I should expect this, I’ve been doing what all of those crazy people who tell you GPAs don’t matter have insisted all along — I’ve been, you know, doing real things.
Considering the amount of time I spend interning and working for The DePaulia, it’s really a miracle I can still even think about getting A’s, because I’ll be honest school usually comes third for me. Being a senior doesn’t help much either.
Perhaps what I’ve been trying to get at is that maybe I’ll be okay, I just have to let go of perfection for just a little bit. And well if you know me, that’s pretty damn hard. I mostly just need to convince myself it’s going to be all right. It might just end up all right.