Dear Sophia in 5th and 6th grade,
Hi Sophia, I know you are struggling right now, but I’m writing this to help. You need to understand you can’t just ignore people trying to help you improve, and you have to stop being so hard on yourself. Being stubborn and negative isn’t going to help you make your grades the way you want. Do you want to be the student you imagined? Well, first stop comparing yourself to your friends and everyone around you. Everyone learns at a different pace; if you keep comparing yourself, you are going to add even more pressure to yourself.
I understand having an open mindset to criticism is hard because you want to believe you did it correctly. Transitioning to junior high and being held more responsible, I should have listened more when the kids above me tried to help. Instead, I would just ignore them or brush off what they were saying, but you can’t do that. I’m just going to say it, you do not know it all and you should ask questions. Asking questions doesn’t make you dumb—it actually makes you seem more engaged. It benefits you, actually, because not only will you seem engaged in class you will understand the lesson. I know that you don’t like people telling you how you could improve on something. Like, for example, your friend tried to help you when you were struggling with homework, but since you failed to listen you didn’t do too hot on the homework. Even though your friends grasped the change quicker to more work in less time doesn’t mean you’re stupid and you will never get it. You will. Trust me, everything people are trying to tell you isn’t to be rude, it is actually to help. I know you are tired about hearing others’ success, but once you start taking that advice and keep an open mind, you will be right there with them in that success.
An easy way to prevent those failures is to learn from your past attempts. You need to stop thinking you are right and the people trying to help you are against you because it will be your fault your grades go down. As an example, I know you are struggling with math right now, but you should never be embarrassed to ask for help. You may be thinking, “Yeah, right,” but I know because it was way more embarrassing for you to always have that one B on your report card. I never cared about all those A’s because I was just focused on that one B. Instead you could ask for help, master it, and get straight A’s.
Being so hard with yourself won’t help you at all—you just create more problems, and that B isn’t a failing grade. That B has to be your motivation to push yourself. You know, I know, everyone knows you are capable of doing it. A tip is to wait after class for five minutes to ask if there is a time to ask your teacher for help. I can tell you right now they will always make time. You are only hurting yourself by having a fixed mindset. Now go and ask as many questions as you need and don’t be so negative towards yourself. You aren’t dumb, you are SMART and you will soon understand.
Sophia R. Alvarez – Culver Academies – DMSF
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