It’s no secret that we live in a world where people are pushed to be the best, rather than pushing them to be their best selves. From adults to kids, no one is immuned to it, but I think that students (especially in high school) get the worst of it. From day one, we try to make ourselves known through anything we can whether it’s a class, a sport, or the performing arts. Now the competition is bigger than ever, and I feel students face more pressure now than ever before. I used to be like that until I stopped raising my hand.
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That’s right. School used to be a place where I could enjoy myself, but lately the constant need to be the best was driving me crazy. I had become so obsessed with trying to be better than my classmates, that I nearly broke my Ipad trying to submit my paper. That’s when I decided to do a little experiment. Would it be the worst thing in the world if I didn’t raise my hand at every single question? That was my hypothesis and I was determined to get some results. I did this experiment for about 3 months, and the results not only surprised me, they also brought me relief and comfort.
The first month was the hardest month. I had come up with ground rules, and the main one was that I could not raise my hand after 3 questions. This was torture in Latin 2 and Honors World Lit, two of my favorite subjects. After a while though, it got easier. The constant need to raise my hand so everyone knew how smart I was started to fade. By the second month, it was a total cake walk, I did my limit and I got insight and perceptions from my classmates.
With that I learned and developed new information, which helped me better on test and quizzes and homework. By the the third month, I could barely muster the energy to raise my hands so I had my teachers call on me. This was a bettter system. Overall, the validation I once needed from me raisisng my hand no longer filled me. It turns out I’m ok with being my best self instead of the best.