If you’re not familiar with the IGCSE curriculum, it is a course you take in 9th and 10th grade (or year 10 and 11) to prepare for the IB (International Baccalaureate), A-levels, or other Junior and Senior year courses. It is the international equivalent of the GCSEs that are taken in the UK. As a student in my first year of IGCSE who strives for straight As and even better, A*s, I can tell you that it is not easy.
Many teenagers believe their main source of stress is the pressures from their parents to do well in school. But for me, the only person I am afraid to disappoint is myself. My parents are the two most supportive people I know, and I owe them a lot. If I don’t do as well on a test or project as I would have liked, what my parents will think is not the first thing I think of. For most of my peers, it is. I sometimes wonder if I would have preferred my parents to be like the others, who get mad when I don’t get a certain grade. I wonder if it would be easier. If it would be easier to overcome the fear of disappointing my parents instead of getting over the fear of disappointing myself. To those who face anxiety due to the fear of being judged or letting down others, they say to do things for yourself and no one else, but no one ever really thinks about people like me, who can’t ever seem to be satisfied with themselves.
So many of my peers carelessly make comments like “oh, of course, she gets a 7” (a 7 is an equivalent to an A+ or A*). These people aren’t just those who don’t ever seem to put in any effort in their school work, and blame their grades on everything but themselves. At times, my friends are guilty of saying such things too. No one ever realises that it’s not a compliment. I was guilty of saying such things too, until I realised how much it hurts to have it said to you. It hurts because it feels like no one ever understands how much work I put in to achieve the things I have achieved. But I’m human. I don’t always do as well as I would have liked, no matter how much I study. So when I hear comments like that being said about me, I feel like shit because when they ask me what I got, and I tell them I didn’t get a 7, they all make that same face and I feel myself crumpling from within. I know it isn’t just me who is affected by such careless comments that are supposedly meant to make me feel good. My grades matter so so much to me, but sometimes I just want everything to stop.
This academic year, I’ve realised that time has passed really really quickly, and not in the way it does when you’re at a friends house and having fun. There just seems to be so much to do that I can’t afford losing any time at all. I’ve given up so many of the things I loved to do, and I’ve rejected far too many offers to go out with my friends. I tell myself I’m going to thank myself in the future, but these days, I’m more uncertain than ever. If I feel so numb because it seems like there is no time to think about my feelings and my mental health declines, how am I ever going to be grateful for the way I “lived” in High School? Sure, I may get into a good university, but won’t it be the same deal there? I just wonder if things are ever going to get easier, or if I’m ever going to let myself make things easier for myself.
For anyone another person (especially teens) out there who feels similarly, I want you to know that you are not alone. You don’t always have to be strong. Sometimes, I go home, get into my bed, and just cry. I don’t always feel better after it, but at least I know that I’m feeling something.
It has only been a week since I started this blog, but the support has been incredible. I want to thank every single one of you so much, because despite everything that’s happening in my life, reading your comments and your blogs make me feel better. I feel like you guys are the silver lining to all this.
Sending my love 🙂