The Pressure of Being a Smart Girl

"Akala ko ba matalino ka?"
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.









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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This is a drawing and a poem I’ve made for a summer love. Our time together was short-lived but the feelings were not.

“God’s Gift”

On a platform we stand

Faces seen all in a blur

Relentless searching led by a spur

To find someone, to feel something

Aren’t we fools to waste away time?

To look for one man’s treasure

Somewhere as ephemeral, as fragile

As a bond built in crime

But aren’t we just like every weary heart?

Hoping for an oasis

In the midst of the desert

Wanting to quench our thirst

Aren’t we all like frosted windows

Of old and battered houses on winter?

Wishing for the sun to give us warmth

To melt the facade so we can show what the inside is made

Aren’t we maven pretenders?

A Casanova? A Temptress? Who made us this way?

A sly fox? A ruthless hunter?

Let down the walls, It’ll be okay

Rushed for a hug, now no hesitating

Engulfed by a sense of bliss or was it longing? Eyes wide-open,

Stepping on a quicksand I embraced the fall into the deep end

Gazed at you lying there unaware With you, found something rare I swear

Realization dawning as loud as a thunder

As the Beating of your heart put me into a deep slumber

Waking up from this reverie

Truth slapped me back to reality

Two worlds so different, now I see If only I could I’d be anything and anyone you need me to be I’m the ludicrous clown, you see

Thought if I ruin it first I’d be free

From the doubts brought by my own insecurity I was so wrong,

What a tragicomedy Brought by the month of April

We rushed the ticking of clock to May Hands interlocked

Weaved skin to skin on a rainy day But when June came to say hello, all went dark grey

What was once there ceases to exist Like the wilting of a flower

Once so beautiful, so full of life Now turned into dust by death’s kiss

Unbounded joy brought by your presence

Paralleled with the perennial ache of your absence Yearned for and offered seventh heaven

Now the heart weeps for evanescence

A mirage, to be the fair maiden The sorrow to find out I’d end up our own villain

But all’s well for you are but a distant dream Gamaliel, You are, I knew it from the very beginning .

Written by me, the one-shot story

Coffee is about a girl who used to cherish moments with someone in a cafe. Sometimes, a simple drink can leave an imprint on someone's mind. ____________________________________________


It's been a year since my boyfriend and I broke up. I love him and he loves me too but things just didn't worked  the way it should be. Now I'm heading at the cafe where we started and ended. I have no choice but to go there after all it was made up of both happy and sad memories. But that's life , right? We can't be happy all the time. Challenges come and hearts can break. But it doesn't just end there.

"One signature coffee , please." I said as I ordered from the cashier.

"What size?" she asked.

"Small." I said.

Then she took my payment and I headed towards the seat near the window. A window seat.... for two. The cafe was surprisingly full tonight unlike the past few days.

Again, I have no choice but to sit on that window seat. It is where we sit often. It is our seat. Our place. There are a lot of couples at the cafe and wow I'm alone. There's a part of me which says you should be happy because he's not the only guy in this world. Another part of me says you're still hurt so don't pretend to be happy. The truth is , I am both happy and sad.  I'm happy because we're both free and we can focus more in our careers. But I'm sad because I'm not the other half of his heart anymore. I'm sad because I let him go even though I still love him. I'm sad because I can't see him. I'm sad because I can't share this relaxing coffee shop where we can chill with the aromatic smell of the coffee.

"Small signature coffee?" the waitress said as she serves my coffee.

"Yes. Thank you." I said.

"Since you're a regular customer here, we would like to give you this item for free." the waitress said. She handed me a purple journal with the name of the cafe on it and a pen.

"Oh thanks." I said .

"Enjoy your coffee!" she said.

I took advantage of using the freebies from the cafe. A window seat is also a bonus in inspiring me to write something. While sipping my coffee my brain and my heart began to function smoothly.

And so I wrote: My coffee has been cold lately, I can't feel anything after taking a sip and there's no heat to leave a pain on my lips. And it was a relief. But then, I remember one thing about sipping a cold coffee instead of a hot one: cold coffee doesn't leave you any marks when you sipped it, just like a blunt feeling. But a hot coffee will leave you a remarkable pain from the heat which reminds you that you are alive to feel....

I closed the journal and stared at the window. He was the coffee. The hot coffee. No matter how our breakup hurt me, he left me a mark and a lesson to learn. A hot coffee can be a challenge too or an obstacle. They all made you feel that you are alive. That you can go on with your life. You can still stand up. Love taught me to move forward. He taught me to be stronger. He is love.

Belley Marie A day ago


One of the proudest things as a fan is the feeling that you are part of their growing fandom and stardom. From streaming their songs online, watching their music videos, TV guestings, collecting photocards, albums, lightsticks, attending to their concert and fan meetings surely, you're a fan! But there's a problem, MONEY.

It's really heartbreaking when you hear that members of your favorite band are coming and their concert is just around the corner but here you are thinking of how to sell one of your kidneys just to go to their concert (kidding).That no matter how much you try to save, it will never be enough for a ticket because you are only a student who has limited resources or if you're an adult, you have bills to pay. So joining a "team bahay" livestream is your last resort, but sometimes even those links don't work!

Of course if there's team bahay there's also "team airport/ team labas", fans who waits at the airport hoping to see their idols upon their arrival. How we wish we could also attend and be part of it, something like shouting their names, fanchants then cry out of happiness while waving their lightsticks or banners. What a concept isn't?

Hey, cheer up! being broke doesn't make you any less of a fan. Know that there are other ways to support and love them. For sure our idols have the same and equal love to us no matter what "team" we belong (team concert, team airport/labas and team bahay).Maybe for some people, they might think we are being overly dramatic without knowing that for us fans, their existence itself and music saved us and made us happy once in our lives. -Gwy June 16,2020

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