I’ve done the calculations. On any of my finals, I can get a 69% and still have a decent grade. I really don’t need to stress much, yet here I am. At the moment, I care more about passing than I do learning. Don’t get me wrong. I love to learn, but at the moment, learning isn’t the goal; passing is. That is the mindset of nearly every high school student.

Just thinking about finals, I felt sick to my stomach. In my brain, I started calling myself stupid. Finals haven’t even started yet, and already I’m feeling physically sick and I am criticizing myself. 

I am in an AP English class. I am not an AP material student. I just am not. I love to over think and analyze stuff, but in English, I go blank and suddenly can’t do it. I love to write, but assign me an essay and I suddenly forget how to write.

I am in advanced algebra. I like math, and I would like to know how to do it, but I struggle a lot, and if I’m being honest, I’m just trying to pull a C in that class. 

I am in chemistry. I try hard in that class. I want to do well on tests. Really I do. But I honestly hesitate to ask my teacher any thing. It doesn’t help when your teacher warns the class not to ask a silly question. What’s a silly question?! I don’t ask questions to be funny! I ask questions so I can pass the test!

I am in Spanish II. I have nothing to complain about in that class. I’m not the smartest student, but if I try, I do well in the class.

I’m in US history. Again, nothing to complain. US History has always come easy to me as I’ve always had an interest in history and politics.

I am in advanced drama. Again, really nothing to complain. I’d do better if my confidence would grow, but it is in no way a difficult class. 

You know what sucks? When I write for fun, it comes out great. When I am enjoying the topic, I write really well. I love to analyze things. I like figuring out how things work or why they work. I like figuring out why people do what they do. I can tell you a lot about the heart and how it works, and I know a lot about CHDs.  When it comes to politics, I can back up what I believe. I love to work with kids. I love to think about theories and philosophies. I can memorize a script quickly if need be. There are so many things I am good at. But I constantly criticize myself for everything that I am not. I am so incredibly mean to myself. I can do so many things, yet I call myself stupid. 

Why do I call myself stupid?
Because in English, almost everyone seems to be able to analyze the text really well. They do so well on the practice AP exams. They write incredible essays. I don’t analyze text the way I should in class. I get 30% on the practice AP exams. I thought I was a good writer, but what if I’m not as good as I thought I was? Take a look at my essays.

Why do I call myself stupid?

Because I studied for my chemistry test. I thought I knew the material. I failed the test. And that was with the curve.

Why do I call myself stupid?

Because my math teacher has explained the concept multiple times and I still don’t understand it. I looked through my study guide and couldn’t remember how to do most of the problems.

Why do I call myself stupid?

Because the government has told the school what I need to know in order to be smart. And I’m not completely sure I know the curriculum. 

But here’s the thing… I am smart. I may not have a 4.0 gpa, but I am not stupid. So I’m not great at math, and so I have to work a little harder in chemistry. I can still tell you a lot about history and politics. So I’m not great at writing the essay topics my English teacher assigns. Give me a creative writing topic, or better yet, no topic at all, and I’ll write an amazing paper. 

Instead of hating myself for everything I am not, I should be loving myself for everything that I am. And I know that especially around finals time, it’s so easy for us students to be mean to ourselves and think we are stupid. But we are not stupid. 

So during finals time, study, but don’t stress yourself to the point that you’re crying on the bedroom floor. Take a ten minute break every 45 minutes to an hour and drink some water. Don’t stay up half the night studying because you need sleep too. Eat breakfast-even if you just force yourself to eat a piece of toast and water. 

And remember: no matter what you get on your finals, you are not stupid. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Happy finals everyone. You are intelligent.


Faith Sparkles


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