Last semester I took a class that I struggled in. It was part of my major, but it focused on something that I probably would never use. I also knew that it would definitely not be my best class, and I knew that I would more than likely face challenges in the class.
Despite knowing all of this, I was frustrated at myself for struggling so much. I couldn’t understand it. I have never been an extremely competitive person. It doesn’t bother me if I am not the smartest person in the class, so why did I care that I wasn’t doing great in this class?
In general, I like to be stretched in my classes. Some of my favorite classes at John Brown University have been the classes with the hardest projects or the assignments that made me get out of my comfort zone. So the fact that the class was hard could not alone be the reason for my frustration.
I finally realized the reason for my frustration ¬– the class made me feel inadequate. In my classes I want to know that I am doing well, that I am understanding everything. It is something that I have become accustomed to in academic work.
In the past, even if the class stretched me I knew I could do the work. This time it was different. I was putting hours and hours in, but I felt like I was still not doing a good job, making me feel inadequate.
No one wants to feel like they are not enough, but in some ways no one is enough. There is a reason we all specialize in one area: because that is what we are good at. It is okay if I am inadequate in one area, because there are other areas that I can thrive in.
I have always known that each person has unique strengths and weaknesses, but it becomes apparent when you see someone who is great at something you know you can’t accomplish. I think one of the most important things I learned in this class is to see how everyone is different. We are all geniuses in our own area.
As the semester went on, I still struggled in the class; however, I also began to enjoy it more. I liked the discussion that we had. I learned a lot that I may not need to know later in life, but it gave me a new perspective.
This class stretched me, and I know I am better for it. I hope from now on when I struggle in something, I will be content knowing that it’s okay and take the time to appreciate the people who are incredible in that area.