Sometimes you work hard and it’s not good enough. Fact of life. You spend hours pouring over words in a textbook or solving problems with a calculator and then the exam comes and the worry of the flattening effect (on your butt) of sitting on hard wooden seats for hours adds to your ever-growing list of worries. You wait anxiously for the results and when the day comes, your heart pounds and your hands sweat. You look at the numbers or letters and you either breathe out a sigh or relief or stop breathing because of a stifling weight on your chest.
When I saw my SAT results, my heart sank when I saw the score for the maths section. I had done worse than I had anticipated and worse than I had the first time I did the test, even though I had spent the most time preparing for maths and going to costly tutoring lessons over the summer. What’s worse than getting a result below your expectations/what you had hoped for is getting a result that does not reflect how hard you felt you worked. The only way forward is to work even harder; it’s all blood, sweat and tears baby. The world is such a competitive place and the sad reality is that some people pick things up more easily than others and are gifted with memory and a natural flair for just… getting things.
My dad says my ineptitude in maths comes from him and its funny how we share the same academic strengths and weaknesses. I can say that I’m not a maths enthusiast and that’s fine- it just means that if I want to do well, I have to work harder than a lot of other people who just get it.
But here’s the thing. There are two ways of looking at failure or being ‘good enough’. I hate that determining whether or not I’m doing ‘well’ in school rests on a comparison between myself and the achievement of others. I am ranked depending on my cohort, comprised of people regarded by their scores or a letter of the alphabet. I understand that’s the way things work- how can you say the tacos here are the best without trying the ones across the street? How can you say the fro-yo from Yo Mama is better than that of Tutti Frutti and Holly Brown without trying them all? See, I get it (except taco and fro-yo preferences are highly subjective). It’s hard to separate yourself from your report and the grades, yes, but it is crucial to remember that grades are so one-dimensional. We are all more than our ranks, jobs and positions. More than our PHDs, degrees and awards. We may fail by some conventional, societal or academic standards but ultimately, I’d like to agree with my grandmother: as long as you do your best, you’re doing well. Anybody who tells me otherwise or asks for more can go away. I am who I am, you are who you are and sometimes, how good you are at something or how well developed a skill or quality you have is much like deciding which fro-yo and what flavour tastes better than another. It’s relative. Thank God for the variety of life – everybody has something to offer!
With University a prospect not too far off (in fact drawing closer as the weeks fall away), the future is brought to the forefront of my mind and it is a daunting thing. It’s easy for thoughts to spiral out of control, spring boarding from one failure to another until the mountain of anxiety is seemingly insurmountable. But I need to remind myself to take a deep breath and realize that God has a plan for me. Even if I don’t get the scores I want and I don’t get accepted into the Universities I am pining after, it’s going to be okay. His way is the best way.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
P.S Holly Brown’s frozen yogurt is to die for.