When academic subjects are hard for you

First, mind your inner monologue. Make sure that voice is speaking with kindness.

Second, accept the fact that certain subjects will be harder for you than others. Don’t wring your hands over it. Own up to it, and ask yourself how you learn best.

If it’s from others, as it was for me, find yourself a tutor who knows that of which they speak. Older/younger, more/less popular than you? That will matter a whole lot of not at all if you’re saddled with the consequences of a mediocre grade on your permanent academic record.

“But Mommmmm! That’s not true for everybody. I know plenty of kids who breeze through everything like it’s no big deal.”

For now, maybe. Or perhaps you’re only seeing what you want to see, Baby Girl.

None of us, not one single solitary soul among us, gets through childhood (or life, for that matter) unscathed. You may not see their struggles (academic or otherwise), but let me just tell you they for darn sure exist.

And on that note (another blog post for another day), have compassion for your fellow classmates, even the ones who seem like self-satisfied jerks. That R.E.M. song is timelessly spot on, kid.

Everybody hurts.

Moreover, eventually even the “genius” kids encounter a class or a concept that becomes its own reckoning. Just last week at the beach we visited some friends of mine, who watched me grow up, and even helped to sow little seeds of encouragement into my fellow Class of ’96ers and me when we were twerpy little 8th graders (thank you, United Methodist Youth Fellowship).

Mom and daughter sitting in beach chairs in the ocean and talking with each other

Do you remember what he told us? He, on the retirement side of life and reflecting on a successful career as a family physician, shared that it wasn’t until college that school got hard, but boy, did it ever. And it wasn’t until his sophomore year.

But then, a University of Alabama calculus class humbled him. Like a lot a lot. Undeterred and through plenty of unglamorous hard work (it’s no fun saying “No” to the many social events of college life, but grades always, always come first kiddo), he graduated and went on to medical school.

I was equally floored when he told us he wasn’t accepted the first time he applied.

If you’ve yet to hear the song “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr, now would be a good time to give it a listen and to really ponder the lyrics.

I guess it’s just another one of our human foibles, but we tend to view others’ success through the most ostentatious and blinged out Elton John-esque rose-colored glasses.

We assume it’s all green lights and easy street success for errbody else, and then beat ourselves up when we face an everyday challenge.

For me, it was Biology II in college – enough to make me rethink my original intended major of speech pathology (and Mrs. Dorough’s high school chemistry class before it – that one like to have killed me). Not that I couldn’t have gotten through both of these subjects. But I didn’t want to ace them bad enough to put in the effort required. That’s the unvarnished truth.

College is still a ways out for you, but the points above are just as relevant on the cusp of this new school year. Expect your course load to challenge you, and don’t get all ostrich with its head in the sand when the going gets tough. That never helped anybody suddenly “get” an otherwise obscure academic concept.

So here we go, diving head first and all full of enthusiasm and high hopes for the the new school year. No matter what comes, I believe in you. Besides, even if it’s the dickens to master a new academic concept, giving up isn’t even in the Walden girls vocabulary.

Let’s do this thing!

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