I didn’t have to work hard in high school.
Academics came easy to me, and I loved the high of seeing a grade in the 90s when teachers handed my assignments back. My love of academic excellence started out innocent enough, but by the time I entered community college, that need to attain perfection slowly took a hold of me.
It wasn’t long before I began to look down on myself if I didn’t get the grade I wanted. I told myself I had to prove my worth in college or it would be pointless.
The sick thing is, no one ever told me growing up I had to get perfect grades — I put that pressure on myself. I remember telling a friend a couple years back that I felt like anything below a 95 was a “half-ass A.”
In a university surrounded by brilliant minds and self-described overachievers, I know I’m not the only one that falls prey to this mindset. Having this perception of academics linked to self-worth can cause serious damage to a person’s physical and mental health.
Everything crashed and burned when the pandemic heavily impacted college campuses and their students.
Online classes made me reevaluate everything I knew about how I functioned in an academic setting. I could no longer connect as well with my professors or be surrounded by other classmates. I was alone in my room, cut off from the outside world.
The way I would typically schedule my time no longer worked once the barrier between my personal and academic life disappeared. Hours on my computer looking through a screen slowly demolished my passion for school. I couldn’t focus. Nothing was clicking, and turning in assignments felt like just barely checking a box each time.
I had lost one of the very things that had long defined me — my motivation to learn.