As we near the end of the semester, I’ve been having more meetings with students who are struggling in their classes.
I’ve yet to interact with a student who is failing because of genuine lack of ability. Everyone who is struggling is doing so for one of two reason: lack of faith in themselves, or lack of investment in what they’ve been assigned.
And so I find myself having the same conversation over and over, and the center of it is one phrase: You can do this.
I imagine there are many other students wandering around in Wheatstone Cyber Space with the same struggles, and perhaps you can benefit from the same message. So I thought I’d tell it here, at the end of November, when you’ve got a lot on your plate, trying to finish up the semester--and maybe it’s not going so well.
You are, it seems, painfully unaware of what you can do. You have either been told, or have told yourself, that you are good at certain things and bad at others, and that’s that. You’ve been told, or have told yourself (and have probably told me at one point or another) that you’re not a good reader, or writer, or that you don’t think quickly enough to participate in group conversation. This may all be true. But the thing is, it really doesn’t matter, at least not in the way you think it does. You may not be as good a reader as your sister, or as good at conversation as the guy sitting next to you in class, but you’re good enough, or, better yet, you can become so. You don’t need to become them; you need to become you doing better.
I think you’ve been operating under a wrong assumption about what is expected of you in high school. If a subject or assignment is difficult, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, or are out of your league, or about to fail. It might just mean that you’re going to need to work hard to do well, which is a great thing. So do it. Invest yourself, do better work, get the help you need when you need it, and carry on.
You will have many years, God willing, in work or in college, to perfect your particular gifts and pursue your individual talents. But, before you do, you will be best served by learning to exert yourself to the task given you, even if it’s not something you think you’re "good at." High school should put before you plenty of opportunities to work outside where you are comfortable, or even where you’re interested. You can do this. So go do it.