Charles Schulz, author/cartoonist of Peanuts said, “there is no heavier burden than a great potential.”
Yep, expectations are fraught with thinking ‘what if ______ doesn’t turn out as I planned?!’
Many of us start every term, every new year, with thoughts of ‘I’ve got this. I’m going to do _______ and be super successful.’ And then reality rears its ugly head, bringing us back to the mundane, plodding through day-to-day tasks and balancing all that we want to do.
My older sister (who is wiser than me, but I often don’t believe her) said, “You CAN have everything. Just not all at the same time.” I have found that to be helpful advice. If you’re holding a family together, working full-time on top of school, playing a competitive sport, commuting from afar, struggling for enough food, shelter or books every month, the priorities in front of you are not measured by grades. It’s about survival, improvement, moving forward, hanging in and hanging on.
So how do we apply this thinking in order to be successful term by term in school while carrying the burden of expectations? As with most things, I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of thinker, one who sees both sides of the equation. Which brings me to another favorite quote:
“Reach for the stars! You might not catch one, but at least you won’t come up with a handful of mud!” — Author unknown
It is important to have goals, short term objectives and also a view to the longer reach of where you want to be. If you have not gotten a “D” or “F” in a class in college, count yourself lucky. It happens. And it can feel oh so awful. The voices inside might say you’re dumb, stupid, unable to learn. I say poobah. It means you failed one class. Period. A year from now, five years from now, that’s not going to have much impact. When you go for a job interview, it is highly unlikely they will ask what grade you got in Trig, Econ, Bio or Communications (not picking on any one subject, really!).
Remember your strengths, your values and what matters to you at the end of the day when you look in the mirror. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying things are hard sometimes and the least we can do is be gentle with ourselves. We’re not waking up in the morning trying to mess up the day. We have plans, ideas, hopes, dreams and they are worthy of our energy.
“When you fall, get up one more time than you fall. Reach for help. Admit you’re not perfect. And keep going.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu
Image by storyset on Freepik