Nothing Left To Give

Working through unrealistic expectations in academics

More stories from Sophie Delaney

We Heard You
May 18, 2023
Sophomore Sophie Delaney examines her math worksheet March 30 in Room 151. (Sophia McCraney)

I sat on my bed, my mom’s arms around me, while tears streamed down my face and my body trembled.

Nothing left to give.

I had come to a tipping point where four pages of homework a night wasn’t feasible anymore. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I couldn’t.

There has always been pressure to be perfect. I was always told I had so much potential. In my brain, it wasn’t an option to not meet those expectations.

The stress decreased the next year going into middle school, but then COVID-19 hit. Now in high school, I am stressed out most of the time. I wish I could pick classes out of the simple desire to learn new things. If I wasn’t good at it, then it was okay.

I want to learn how to learn.

Not how to work on homework until I physically can’t focus anymore.

Not how to comfort myself by saying, “it’s just for completion points.”

Not how to ignore the work I have to do just to feel relief.

The pressure to maintain good grades and excel at everything causes students to end up missing the point of school. They see it as a task to get out of the way before they can have any fun.

I would love more than anything for the “task” that takes up my time to be something I can enjoy without wanting to go home and cry about it everyday. Something that could expose me to new ideas and possible interests without feeling like the purpose of it is to get a grade.

I’ve finally gotten to the point where if I look at my grades and see something lower than an A, it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself.

No one should feel lesser than or dumb because they don’t have perfect grades.