Graduate: it won’t be the same without ‘u’

Erin Garcia

Most of us have been judged by someone, whether it was based on what we wore, what style of hair we rocked, who we dated, the people we hung out with, etc. The list is never ending. Well, one thing some may or may not have checked off their list, is being judged based on their education.

Education is a pretty important part of our lives. It allows for learning new things, meeting new people, and most importantly, reaching bigger and better things.

As a junior in high school, I’m surrounded by so many unique and intelligent people, and it can be intimidating at times. I find that I am constantly comparing myself to others simply because I don’t feel as talented or as smart as they are. Sometimes I even question whether or not I’ll graduate on time with the rest of my friends and classmates. I began to feel this way because I felt as if I was ten steps behind everyone else. My absences were adding up and work that was past due was piling higher than I could see over. I’m not in the hardest possible classes I can take, I don’t bring home straight A’s every time a report card is sent my way, and my GPA isn’t exactly worthy of being hung on my family’s refrigerator either. So why should a person like me be given the honor of accepting such an important piece of paper called a high school diploma that all of us, deep down, are hoping to get?

On average, students spend four years at the high school they attend, but what about those that may have to stay longer? Maybe they ended up not having enough credits or had to repeat a certain grade level due to whatever circumstances they were facing at the time. Perhaps a health issue sprung up or a personal or family issue arose. Does that make those students any less than what you are? Absolutely not. Having to spend more time in high school is nothing to be ashamed of or looked down upon. It simply means that some students didn’t quite get it the first time but that they’re being given another chance to try even harder. For those who choose to continue receiving an education after high school, comes college.

College seems great, although I am aware that it does come with its fair share of pros and cons. Typically, when people get to that point, they are in charge of how their schedule is structured and what exactly it is that they want to go to school for. But what if they end up taking longer than they anticipated? Will they be judged? Most likely, not so much, because it’s ‘college,’ and it is viewed in a completely different way than high school is. When I take a look at high school compared to college, of course there are differences that I see, but in reality, they’re both just another stepping stone that leads us students on the path to success.

Whether or not I take a little extra time to graduate high school or even college, I won’t let that cause me to think any less of myself. If taking classes more suitable for me is better, so be it. If staying for tutorials will help me, I’ll be there, and if accepting the fact that I learn at a different pace than others will allow me to be more successful, I accept.

Don’t let the expectations of those around you dictate the direction of your life. The only expectations that truly matter, are the ones we set for ourselves.