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The Pressure of Being a Smart Girl

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IMAGE Unsplash ART Clare Magno

I've always been an honor student ever since I started studying. My grades were consistently high and I was always part of the group that marched last during recognition days or graduations because I had special awards. Time and again, I was a role model, taking home certificates and ribbons and medals, my parents always proudly smiling at my side as the cameras flashed.

Around the fourth grade, I started breaking down from the pressure. There were expectations from every side of the family bearing down on me like the whole world. My grades dropped, and I fell from the Top 3 in our grade level.

Despite this, I was still encouraged to enroll in a Science High School and surprisingly, I passed. My parents were thrilled, but I felt down. What would it be like there? Will I excel or will I fail? I tried not to think about it, but it lulled at the back of my mind.

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My four years in a Science High School taught me one main thing: You may not be the top notcher, but you're the best in your own way. Unlike in elementary school, I never became an honor student in high school and never had an award for academics. But I felt like I fit in with the people there and the environment. We joined forces in trying to understand a lesson, and we patted each other's backs as we received our test scores. I didn't feel pressured to be anything or anyone. I was just the writer, the project conceptualizer, the graphic artist because I wanted to be that.

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I was busy and rather stressed most of the time, but I still enjoyed what I did. Everyone accepted me for who I am, and encouraged me to improve. If I didn't exactly meet the expected grade, people were sympathetic, saying that it's okay and I can do better.

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Unfortunately, I had to transfer schools for senior high because my chosen strand, which is the ABM strand, was not being offered by my school. The new school was promising and I felt confident that I could adapt quite easily, despite not having any friends friends yet. Before the start of the school year, I decided that I would lay low and not draw too much attention to myself.

That plan failed. From the very beginning, even as I tried to be somewhat quiet about it, my background as a Science High School graduate was emphasized. I was questioned as to why I chose ABM as a strand instead of STEM, and why I did not want to be a doctor.

I was questioned as to why I chose ABM as a strand instead of STEM, and why I did not want to be a doctor.

It didn't help either that I seemed to excel in most of my subjects, earning praise from my teachers and my peers. I couldn't seem to shut off my skills when I wanted to hide and not have attention drawn to me.

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It was more difficult this time to meet expectations, since almost everyone looked at me like I was the one who should be followed, like everything I did and said was automatically right. I was assigned to be a leader several times, I was one of the people they turned to for answers. They viewed me as someone who could always have high scores.

But I knew I couldn't do it. I knew that I was going to get a low grade, and then I worried about what they would think of me and my previous school. Out of everything I was afraid of, I was terrified of being disappointed in myself.

Soon enough, I dropped from the top 10 ranking and I was asked again and again: What happened? I didn't want to discuss it.

I think it was the stress, I think I let the pressure get to me again and I let it tear me down. I wanted to go back to my old school. I wanted to feel like it was okay to not have high grades anymore. I wanted to not have any eyes on me anymore every time I did something. I didn't want the constant questions or the assumption that I knew absolutely everything.

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I wanted to feel like it was okay to not have high grades anymore.

These expectations follow me around to this day and it bothers me because  in truth, I'm really just ordinary. I'm good at English, and sometimes I have a hard time solving Math problems. Yes, I came from a Science High School, but there are some areas of Science that I can't excel in. I have my skills and capabilities, and I have my weaknesses, which I do not deny.

I guess what I'm saying is we are all capable of doing different things. Even the ones who appear to be brilliant at first can still have downfalls. Someone's background in education is not always the best basis for how good they are, nor should it define what they should be. We are all good at something, and although some may be better at other things, you shouldn't downgrade yourself.

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Someone's background in education is not always the best basis for how good they are, nor should it define what they should be.

Lesson learned: Don't doubt yourself. If you can do it, do it. It's okay to be a little better than others at some subjects, and it's okay to not be as great with other subjects. It doesn't mean that you can't do great things, no matter where you came from.

Want to write about your experience in school? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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About the author
Aleeza Abinuman
Candymag.com Correspondent
Aleeza is a business student, who enjoys crime shows, fantasy books, and occasionally, writing her heart out.
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To the Person Who Does Not Know Any 1D Song

By: CJ Reyno

Never in my wildest dream I imagined to meet someone who does not know a single One Direction song or who does not even know, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and err… Zayn Malik. How did you spend your teenagehood without listening to their songs? The disrespect to my #StyPayHorLikSon. My initial reaction, Vas Happenin’?

Since I was 12 years old, that was way back on 2012, One Direction songs have been my official life soundtrip, my go-to songs whenever I feel happy, sad, mad, excited, and etch. I can still remember how people went crazy just to attend their concert here in the Philippines. I must admit, I was one of those. LOL. The group was also dubbed as, “The Biggest Boyband in the World”. They were an era. You really left me in awe when you told me that you do not know a single One Direction song. Their songs are gold. But I was a little hopeful when a new messaged popped up on our conversation, “Hey I know one, Make You Beautiful”.

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You do not know how my world collapsed after reading your message. I would like to say that I appreciate the effort, thanks, but they do not have a song entitled, Make You Beautiful, because it is, What Makes You Beautiful. I tried to explain but you said that they are just the same. (Tip: Never fight with a Directioner when it comes to this because we will not let our guards down). No! They are not the same. How can you make this big mistake? LOL. What Makes You Beautiful is One Direction’s debut song. Almost everyone knows this, “you’re insecure, don’t know what for,” ring a bell? The music video of this surpassed 1 billion views on Youtube. On my 21 years of existence, you are the very first person who told me this “I-Thought-It-Was-A-Joke-But-You-Are-Serious” statement.

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As a persuasive fangirl, I thought to myself that I should make you appreciate their music, that you should know that it is What Makes You Beautiful, not Make You Beautiful. The group may be in hiatus but their music is and will always remain superior. You are hard-headed lad. We even when to the point where you challenged me to treat so I can make you watch their music video. Am I even surprised that I agreed to this? HAHA. I feel like an agent trying to persuade her customer to buy a property on our company. You do not know how happy I was when you sent me your video listening to What Makes You Beautiful. I felt like I successfully closed a deal with my client. Not to exaggerate but I really jumped because of happiness after watching your video. It was the first message I checked that morning. Thank you for your effort, so much appreciated. Funny how our conversation starts with your innocence on One Direction until it goes deeper and last longer. Up All Nigh conversations which turned to almost Midnight Memories. Ironic how a Directioner had developed an admiration on someone who dislikes her favorite boys? Just like One Direction’s song, Change My Mind, “Never felt like this before. Are we friends or are we more?” I guess, like Liam’s line on Love You Goodbye, “It's inevitable everything that's good comes to an end. It's impossible to know if after this we can still be friends.”

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I was happy that I made you listen to One Direction. At least I made you appreciate and made you aware that there is a song called, What Makes You Beautiful, not Make You Beautiful. I am happy that you already found your Girl Almighty. Wish me luck on finding my Summer Love. xoxo, Your Directioner friend

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