“Have you done your homework yet?” is a question I have dreaded since the first grade.
I’m a child of two very strict immigrant parents, so making good grades has always been important. And I understand. If I crossed the Atlantic Ocean for my family’s well-being and education, I’d hope my children were doing well in school.
But because the pressure to do well overwhelmed me, I did the opposite. I would plan and dedicate certain days for certain assignments and classes, but I failed to succeed, especially in high school, a pivotal part in anyone’s education.
Many of my friends and family members excel academically. So, when I, the youngest of six children, didn’t do so well in my classes, it raised some eyebrows.
I had all of the inspiration around me, but somehow it didn’t eleavate me. They say you are who you surround yourself with, and in any other situation I would agree.
But for me, the pressure from my family made it harder to be successful.
If a person doesn’t have the desire or courage to admit they failed and want to do better, then nothing will change, and no one can change it for them.
It seems like it just comes so easily to other people. I believe it’s because people who excel aren’t facing as much pressure from home to begin with.
I have a lot of friends who are better at school than I am and that really impacted my self-esteem.
There was even a phase in my educational journey where I just stopped trying because it was too hard.
It was too hard to put in effort. Too hard to believe in myself. Too hard to thrive.
It took so much effort that doing one assignment a day was an accomplishment.
The only way I stopped that loop was to give up on giving up. I eventually looked at my friends and how accomplished they were and asked myself why that couldn’t be me.
So of course, I went on TikTok and searched for videos about academic comebacks. Classic Gen Z behavior, I know.
I found out that if I romanticized my lifestyle enough, I would gain back the longing for success.
And like the hopeless romantic I am, I looked up local coffee shops, got some noise-canceling headphones and hoped to God my soulmate was there. At first, I would act busy, watching Netflix and YouTube videos, but eventually I actually started doing my work.
I realized that being a successful student isn’t about living up to your parents’ expectations. It’s something you have to want for yourself.