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What It's Like to Be the Only Non-Achiever in the Family

"Are you also a candidate for Cum Laude? You should be like your sisters."
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"Are you also a candidate for Cum Laude? You should be like your sisters." I often get asked these questions, so as a reply, I just smile and bow my head down. These are the words that have been echoing in my head, perhaps it's already been ingrained in my being that I should be smarter and be someone who I'm not actually meant to be me.

I grew up looking up to my sisters and their innumerable certificates and medals. I witnessed how happy my parents are upon seeing their report cards.

As a little kid and the youngest daughter, I fantasized myself doing the same—going up on our school's stage with my name called from the list of honors. Sadly, things turned out differently.

It also didn't help that my high school teacher always compared me to my siblings and at one point even said that I'm way "different." Other people seemed to share my teacher's sentiment too, saying I should be like my sisters and continue carrying our surname as "achievers." 

It also didn't help that my high school teacher always compared me to my siblings and at one point even said that I'm way "different."

It even came to a point when family reunions made me anxious. What's supposed to be a fun and light moment among family became such a chore. Everyone would brag about making it to the honor's list, talk about their countless achievements, and many other things I did not have. To find contentment, I simply waited for them to finish their conversations and pretend that I didn't hear their loud praises for each other. While I clearly understand that it's what usually happens during family gatherings, for a "not so smart" person like me, it made me more insecure realizing that I do not measure up to their expectations.

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It came to a point when I felt that my dad got tired of reminding me of the kind of student I should be and just accepted the fact that it's never going to get better. As for my mom, I felt that her supportive and positive aura every time I get low grades was slowly replaced with a disapproving look and a sigh of acceptance. 

I'm still struggling to bring out the best in me. However, I came to a realization that sometimes, it's more helpful to go "easy" on yourself and be happy with what you've already done instead of comparing yourself to an impossible ideal. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're labeled as the "not so smart" or "non-achiever" student. It's about how you reach the finish line without expecting an applause.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're labeled as the "not so smart" or "non-achiever" student. It's about how you reach the finish line without expecting an applause.

Want to share your personal stories? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the author
Rejina Maree Catapang
Candymag.com Correspondent
A little lady who has an obsession for city lights, night sky, and fascinating dreams. Aside from overthinking and sleeping, I usually listen to music; watch films, series, or vlogs; read random blogs; and take photos for my Instagram!
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