Steps Forward And Steps Back

If you ask my teachers, they might say I’m a good student, or “model student”. I have always tried my best to fit the description of what  a model student was. I’ve always put my academics first before any other extracurricular activities. I also never spent enough time on my personal goals. I don’t mean to say that I regret how I spent these years. I am sincerely grateful  for everything I have accomplished thanks to the amazing people in my life, who  have given me unwavering support. I wish I knew then how to fix my habits ,and control my feelings. Overall I wish I knew there were better ways to fix things.

I’ve always been told I could achieve anything if I put in the effort and never give up, which I one-hundred percent agree on. Being determined, having confidence, and being resilient were things that I’ve kept in my head for a while. As time passed, I put my academics over mostly everything. A horrible habit my 5th-8th grade self  had was staying up really late. Mostly because I have a problem with perfectionism, if I don’t see it the way I’d like to I would start over or not finish until I thought it was “Perfect”. But the truth is nothing is perfect. I spent too much time on assignments that could’ve been finished in 20-30 minutes. I also had very bad time management. When teachers and classmates started to label me as a good student or “model student” , I thought they had higher expectations for me that would keep rising,  which I had to meet. I think it’s true that expectations get higher as you get older. But the thought of not meeting some expectations was okay, never crossed my mind before. I was obsessed with trying to meet all my expectations “perfectly”. I always tried my best to meet the expectations, to keep everyone around me proud. As I saw everyone else making mistakes, I felt like my accomplishments were no longer being celebrated. My fear of failure, trying new things, and meeting new people became bigger and bigger.  I soon started to realize that making mistakes was okay. During that time I didn’t understand I had an unhealthy  mindset. I wish I knew that even though facing challenges and receiving criticism was hard, I shouldn’t have been obsessing over it and learn from these hardships instead.

After the pandemic, I started taking some time  to myself. I started looking for activities that I could try. I later started taking swimming lessons. I found out how much I loved swimming. I was always excited to go to every class. I later realized I should have taken time to find out what kind of extracurriculars, or other activities I like to do. I began to see new opportunities in everything. For my first high school year I will get over my fears  of failure, trying new things, and meeting new people.

To my future self…always remember that making mistakes is okay. Currently at age 14, there are many things I would like to say to my younger self. Two  of those things are  that nothing will ever be perfect. And to manage my time well so I could still excel and do well in my academics, while having  time to do any hobbies and extracurricular activities. Another is that you don’t need something that causes you to be stressed and sad instead of being happy.  For me it was trying to figure out what extracurricular I wanted to do. I remember seeing everyone doing something, and I wanted to become like them. With that came me being stressed about not knowing what to do, and being sad since I felt like I wasn’t good at anything else except studying.  Remember you learn something new everyday. The next time you read this you will be smarter, and everyday you will become smarter and smarter.

Valeria Cervantes – DeLaSalle Institute – DMSF Class of 2027