Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

It was my junior year of high school, and I just could not understand that no matter how much I tried everything seemed to be going wrong. Even though I kept telling myself that the only person I should be competing with was myself, I could not bring myself to accept the fact that I might not have the highest grade point average that year. This was a shame, really, because even though I had not been getting enough sleep since eighth grade because of schoolwork, this year was probably the worst of all.

And no matter how hard I was trying in my ballet, jazz, and tap classes, I didn’t get any of the parts I wanted for the final recital. I was pretty sure that I was going to get a spot in one of the advanced dances that year, and my heart broke when I didn’t.

Besides that, I was involved in a program called Young Entrepreneurs that was run by an organization called Junior Achievement at my school. The program consisted in making a team of twenty-five students, creating a company, manufacturing a product, advertising it and selling it. It was a competition between schools in my city, and my school had been winning for three years in a row. My grade had a reputation of losing everything we participated in, so to say the pressure was on was an understatement. In Junior, we had “production days” every day for several hours, and since I had many hours of ballet rehearsal every day, I could not be present at each production. Junior also gives money to each participant, so the program was bringing the worst out of everyone. Every meeting was just an opportunity to bring yourself up by bringing others down. And trust me, I was usually in the former group. Besides that, I was lieutenant (second in charge) in my section in Band, and I had to go to catechism for Confirmation every Sunday.

So, after one particular rough day at school, I went into my room and I didn’t even bother to turn on the light. I just sat on the floor and cried for a while. After a while, my dad came in to ask me about my plans for the day. That day, I had a couple of tests to study for, piles of homework to complete, ballet rehearsal, and production afterwards. Obviously, he asked what was going on. And I told him I just couldn’t do it anymore. And then, he told me something that has stayed with me since that day, “Queen, if you want to be happy, you need to resign as CEO of the universe.”

I wish I could say that everything got better after that, but it wasn’t that easy. School didn’t go away, Junior didn’t go away, and I still had many hours of ballet rehearsal a week. The environment at my studio was, at least for me, super stressful and it really messed up my self-esteem, but that’s a story for another day. However, I did understand that day that even if I want to, I can’t control everything that I do. We can only try our hardest. There’s only so much we can do, and sometimes things just don’t go the way we planned them. And as hard as it can be, knowing that we did everything in our power should be enough.

Oh, and I did end up with the highest grade point average that year, my Junior Achievement team won in every category, and I had a lot of fun in my dance recital. So, sometimes things turn out a lot better than expected. School actually ended, and I took comfort in another lesson taught I learned from my dad: “You know those teachers you hate right now? You won’t remember their names in ten years. It’s all going to be okay.” So, have fun, and remember, the best is yet to come. And I even miss high school a little bit sometimes, who knew?

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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