Melodramatic title, but true.
For me, school was always an escape from the stress in my life: from the bullying, from the depression, from the truths I ran from for years. In high school, I was on honor roll all eight semesters, high honors for two of those. My senior years my grades were awesome, despite being in two plays back-to-back second semester, being a writer for Senior Production, and photo editor for the school online magazine.
In college though?
My first semester at Iowa sucked, no doubt about that. Stress with the insanity that was my floor in my dorm lead to my struggling grades.
Second semester was much better. Dean's list was where I ended up since literally all I did was go to the bars on Saturday nights, sleep, and study.
First semester my sophomore year, I had 17s.h. and was working 13hrs a week. Dean's list again.
Second semester I was in Ireland and it was practically a free semester. I passed my classes and my GPA was unaffected. Thank you, Study Abroad.
First semester junior year? Not quite as good grade wise. Latin is killing me; I'm hoping for a D+ at best. Earth Science is so boring I find it hard to bother much with it. I'm guessing B-. Film and Lit? B+, A-. Creative Writing? A. Basic Acting? A. That GPA? Would make my cumulative a 3.2. Not that terrible, but not impressive either.
So why then am I freaking out this much? My goal is to graduate with at least a 3.0 which is very likely still. I stress out like crazy though if I think I'm not excelling.
I feel guilt.
I feel guilty for many things, constantly, incessantly, always. Again result of early childhood but grades cause me much guilt if they fall below a B. I have to get beyond this self-imposed-grade-guilt I have that is helping no one. Stop blaming yourself, stop worrying about what your grades say about you, stop freaking out about not being on the Dean's list three semesters in a row. How much do my grades really matter, beyond the obvious of course?
But I can't, I can't stop questioning, worrying...so I wrote something for myself to hang over my bed and read before I fall asleep:
Dear Molly Jane,
Look at yourself. What do you see? A writer, a fantastically gifted, driven, weaver of tales. You know you can do this; deep down you have no doubts. You see those concerns on the surface? You feel that building anxiety in the pit of your stomach? That constant wonder if you will fail, how you will fail, when you will fail?
You're better than your worries, as real as they seem. All those teachers, family members, friends, mentors, and classmates who read your work must be right to an extent. Some, yes, may be obligated to say kind things, but not all of them. Their praise is what keeps you going and you must internalize it if you want to contain that emotion. What I'm saying is...
OWN YOUR TALENT.
OWN YOUR IMAGINATION.
OWN YOUR ABILITY.
"I hear you're something of a genius when it comes to writing."
"You have such a clearly defined voice which is difficult to achieve."
And the most important one from your dad:
"I knew from that moment that you were going to be a writer."
They know you can do it, you know you can do it, so for God's sake stop questioning yourself! Focus, buck up, and buckle down. You have this gift; do not let it go to waste. Don't listen to anyone who says you can't. Listen to your heart because you know you can.