Over the next few days, we'll be doing a countdown to graduation, and featuring the student whose class rank is the same as the number of days until graduation.
Today's student is ranked #45 out of 492.
Her name is Nicole Arellano and here's what she has to say today, as we feature and honor her:
High school experiences are different for everyone --- some are great, while others are not so great. I would say an individual’s high school experience is defined by their goals, their abilities, their morals, basically anything that defines who they are as a person. Going into high school, however, I personally did not expect those aspects to change drastically. Whether I changed for the better or for the worse, I really can’t tell at this point in my life.
One life lesson that high school has given me is to be flexible with myself. I won’t be able to complete every single homework assignment I’m given, I won’t be able to pass every test, I won’t be able to meet every teacher’s expectations. I had to learn that in a matter of four years, and it’s definitely been an intense struggle trying to figure out why I can’t be the perfect student that both my parents and my teachers want me to strive to be.
I try to refrain from bringing up IB when talking about expectations, since most high school students, no matter whether in Standard, Honors, AP, or IB classes, go through the academic struggle of trying to meet certain expectations or trying to be that perfect student that we’re told we should strive to be like, but I think IB is one of the biggest factors of my high school career that has contributed to this desire of becoming an academic role model.
This experience is 100% personal, and not all of my classmates may experience the same thing I do, but since IB classes generally contain the same people, most IB students end up sharing similar experiences to each other. Throughout Junior and Senior Year, I began to doubt my own abilities. Taking classes with some of the smartest people I have ever met for two years straight has definitely enclosed me to a certain mindset that has made me question everything about who I am and what I’m capable of.
Am I good enough?
Am I smart?
Who defines one’s intelligence? (Yes, TOK has introduced me to existential crises.)
Those are just some of the questions I have asked myself in the past that I’m sure most high school students have come across, too. Doubting your own abilities and enclosing yourself to a certain mindset can definitely be detrimental to the way you think about yourself, and even to your self-esteem; however, instead of being so hard on myself, I broke out of that enclosed mindset and made this an experience that I can learn from.
This experience has taught me to accept what I’m capable of and to strengthen and improve those capabilities without running myself thin. I have limitations, and those limitations may not be able to reach other people’s limitations, but it’s okay. I don’t need to worry about other people’s limitations. What I need to worry about is expanding those limitations to eventually reach the expectations I have for myself. Setting goals for yourself is important, but so is being realistic about the process of reaching those goals.