A| Second is the Best

Hello, all. It’s been quite the stressful week (or two weeks) with what seem to be endless hours of sitting down and pages of bubbles that I have to fill in with dull pencils. Being surrounded in a room full of my peers who have been studying just as hard as I had, probably even harder, makes me wonder if school is really a competition like everyone says it is. Competitions are certainly not my strong point.

As a child, I think I was very used to being the best. I was that little Asian girl who began to read early, who played piano even though her parents didn’t remind her to, who knew her multiplication table in kindergarten, who knew how to work the printer in the second grade. So when I was faced with the harsh reality that I wasn’t the best? Well, I was shocked. I was angry. I was so used to the lack of competition. I went through those stages of denial where I thought, Well there’s no way. I always pull it off somehow. And that’s a very dangerous sentiment.

But I’m glad I learned that I’m not the best. At a school like the one I attend, it’s very important to realize that I’m not the best and I probably never will be. Disappointment is healthy but dangerous in large doses. I can now say that I have thoroughly experienced disappointment to the point where I do not expect miracles to happen. But I don’t use disappointment as an excuse for my failures. I’ve learned that there’s always some amount of control that we have in what happens to us, whether good or bad. I believe that fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it does have the upper hand, but there must be something I can change.

That’s why I tell myself to work hard in school and most everything I do. I figure that I’ll do all I can so I can say that I tried my hardest, and I’ve also realized that my hardest isn’t the best. There is always someone out there who is going to be working harder than I am. And maybe that’s a good thing. If there were one hundred Bill Gates’, or five thousand Condoleezza Rice’s, then they wouldn’t be special anymore. So I’m okay with being a little bit over ordinary. I think that’s where a lot of us belong, and then we can choose where we want to go from there.

There are some things that I am atrocious at. Namely, dancing, drawing, making jokes, and playing sports that require hand-eye coordination. This used to discourage me a lot. But you know what? I like to believe that I can sing, that I can play the piano, that I can write, and that I know how to like myself. I’ve achieved a balance between things I can’t do and things I’m comfortable with, and that’s led me to be comfortable in my own skin, for a lack of a better cliche.

As a teenager, I’ve reached the perfect middle.The middle is a very underrated place. But I figure it’s the best place to be.

Best wishes,

A

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