I grew up in a small town and was homeschooled until I went to high school. Moving from a class of one to seventy-one was a huge shock, but I had always felt unique and intelligent, so I was confident I was up to the challenge. I got involved in student council, attained my Eagle Scout award and was an honor student. When I graduated, my identity as a capable person was solid.
Although I had adjusted to high school, my transition to RIT was much harder. I felt immense family, societal, and personal pressure to maintain perfection. When I arrived I felt isolated and lonely, but I was sure I had the personal qualities and strong academic background to do well.
In my drive to be successful, I worked multiple jobs and became involved in student government. Then my first C happened in Organic Chemistry. Soon I was getting more B’s and C’s than A’s. I felt like no matter what I did, it was never good enough. The identity I had built up my entire life was shattering before me. One day at work I was so overwhelmed and upset that I knew I needed help.
Going to the Counseling Center wasn’t an easy decision but it helped me turn things around. After several months I learned to put worst-case scenarios into perspective and be more reasonable with myself. I also learned that it’s okay to ask for help when I need it. Most importantly, I now know that success is not defined by perfection.