Coming to Terms with a B ... or my new Student Manifesto

I don’t like what I am up against. This sinking feeling that there is no way I can possibly absorb this much information, much lest digest it. I never would have thought I could feel like I was suffocating on a textbook.

The problem is I’ve always been a good student. Desired to be ‘the’ good student. Academic achievement is such a clear-cut sense of security and stability. To have an ‘A’ means something exact and undeniable. It is an absolute definition of your ability and accomplishments as a human being, or so my mind says.

It is simple to wear an A like a uniform. To let it become your identity. No one questions the intelligence of an A-student day-to-day. You have groomed yourself to be trusted and admired, more importantly accepted by your society. Meanwhile, what is driving you towards that shell of stability? What messy, uncomfortable and painful feelings are at work in the background undermining even the most simple decisions?

We all feel that fear of ourselves and what we are not.

We are not solid and immutable. We are not made whole by accomplishment or other external factors. We are all blindly finding our way towards contentment and it hurts. To be alright with being mediocre is one of the mostly difficult challenges we face. This is not to say, “give up.” The opposite really – to embrace our failings is to be completely honest with ourselves, to directly confront the easy story we live behind. Accepting ourselves for who we are is the most challenging work we will ever do. And though we may not ever have any outward proof that we are ‘living honestly,’ it is still more valuable an accomplishment than any other.

So I may not get an A in every class. Or any. But I would be doing myself a greater disservice if I was to walk away from such a situation never asking why - not why I did not achieve the grade I desired, but why it upset me so much that I did not.
And so I’ve found my student new manifesto: learning from every lesson, even those that teach me how to fail.