Okay. I hope this blog post doesn’t make me seem awful.
So tomorrow is GCSE results day, and although I will only be starting year 11 in September, I did five exams in the summer exam season whilst I was in year 10: Sociology unit 1, RE (unit 1 I think, Religion and Life Issues), Biology (B1), Physics (P1), and Chemistry (C2). My honest aim is that I would like to get As in all five of these exams, although I have another aim to achieve an A* in Sociology – it is my favourite subject, I feel I have worked hard on it, and I would love to get this grade for my teacher who is amazing. The sciences are not my strong point at all and although I managed to achieve an A in Chemistry 1 and was quite close to an A*, I feel that Biology 1, Physics 1 and Chemistry 2 did not go quite as well. If, at the end of year 11 and in exactly a years time, I can achieve an A overall in Chemistry, Biology and Physics, I will be so happy.
I think that I have high expectations of myself with regards to my academic performance, and I believe there is a specific reason for this.
Since I was very young, perhaps since I started primary school, I have been labelled as ‘smart’ or ‘clever’. It was as if I, along with this other boy were put in a league above everyone else in the class. I very quickly hasten to add that I never, for one moment, thought of this but it is something that everyone has, subtly, been telling me. I am or never was someone to think highly of myself and was always extremely shy, but everyone else thought it, and I was constantly labelled as ‘the smart one’ or words to that effect. I wanted to say “what about me as a person? Do you like my personality?” I would say that at primary school, I was someone who was well liked by everyone (I hate the concept of popularity and I refuse to say that here) but a lot of the time, I genuinely wondered if everyone secretly hated me.
As I moved into secondary school, not much changed, if I’m being honest. I wasn’t the only one considered ‘smart’ but I was still considered to be it. What I truly hate about this whole thing, is that behind all the modesty, I loved having that title. Not that I wanted to be the centre of attention or anything, the opposite in fact, but I enjoyed being recognised and acknowledged. It was something I was very much used to and secretly came to expect, even though I put the same amount of effort into things as everyone else, perhaps sometimes a bit less.
But that can only get you so far. I found this out when I started year 10, probably. I truly learnt that in order to achieve good grades, you had to put in the work, no matter what ability you are. I have put in a lot of work over the past year. However, there have been times where I have slacked a bit, on tests for example, and assumed I would be fine. Sometimes it has worked, and that is a bad thing because it made me think that I could get away with it, I could automatically do well. But sometimes it hasn’t worked, and that has hurt but it really made me realise that it’s not easy to succeed and I need to put in more effort.
Now, as I move into year 11 and my final year of school, I am working on creating a completely new mindset. I’m not special in the slightest. I never boast or show off or anything like that but inside my own head, I’ve placed myself on a pedestal above other people. It’s wrong and I shouldn’t have done it. The next year is going to be hard but I am prepared to put in the work in order to achieve the grades that I want.
It’s funny, isn’t it? I’d laugh if I wasn’t so nervous about the results tomorrow. I have such high expectations for myself but the exact same thing that gave me those high expectations could end up stopping me from living up to them.