We grow up in a society where success stories about prodigies, teen inventors, and amazing athletes are only a Google search and click away. Technology makes all these unrealistic, but nevertheless, true stories about children skilled or gifted with a particular trait more accessible to the common teenager, and it’s hard not to feel the pressure when you start comparing your life to the ones in the stories.
When the topic of graduating high school and going to college comes up, people never fail to bring up the fact that Mark Zuckerberg never graduated college, yet he is still one of the most successful men in the country.
His story is unique and uncommon. Typically, people wouldn’t have the skill or the idea to create something as widely used as Facebook, or else we’d all be billionaires.
The common route an American teenager takes is one that leads them towards college. What the people that talk about Zuckerberg forget is that he spent an entire year at Harvard University, one of the most popular and most prestigious universities in the nation. That shows that before, and after his college career, Zuckerberg had already been doing something impressive.
The prospect of getting into college only seems to get dimmer as more stories about outstanding students become public. More often than not, we’re told to balance out our academics with our extracurriculars, but we must have extracurriculars. They are supposed to be what set us apart from our peers, and schools would like to see well-rounded students who aren’t just good at studying.
Just extracurriculars, however, are not enough to convince colleges of how great you are, because you need to show that you are excelling in school and challenging yourself with multiple advanced courses.
For the vast majority, myself included, keeping your sanity as well as attempting to balance out every aspect of your life in that perfect way you imagined is just not a possible task. As my first semester of junior year ends, I’m letting myself know that it’s okay if my grades aren’t perfect, or if I don’t get to do all the activities that I would have liked, because whatever path my accomplishments lead me to is the one that I can handle and be happy with.