The nicknames my elementary-school peers gave me paint a vivid picture of what they thought of me: “Smart Girl,” “Miss Perfect,” etc. (“Teacher’s Pet” didn’t come until junior high.)
So, I was smart, and I was a good student, and I prided myself on things like good grades, perfect attendance… and never having to go on the Wall of Shame (that’s not what it was called, but that’s how I felt – shameful).
I had cheer-leading practice or something after school, but our coach didn’t show up on time, so we were left in the auditorium, waiting. And what did we do? Play on the stage LIKE NORMAL KIDS.
We got in trouble for basically being kids instead of waiting outside like the building like lost puppies.
So. We all got detention – standing against the wall. I was mortified. (“Haha, look at Jasmine, on the wall!! Ha!!)
I asked one of the older kids, “What does regret mean?”
“It means you wish something never happened.”
“Oh,” I said. “Well. I regret this day.”
Thankfully, it was but a blip in my elementary experience. Nobody cared the next day.
In junior high, I was spotless. The teachers loved me. I had the top GPA in the school both years (4.5.), perfect attendance, never got in trouble. In one class, I was teased so much that the teacher had to move my desk up next to hers (and that’s when they started calling me teacher’s pet). But, being a good student was so important to me. It was pretty much all I had.
I made friends in high school, though. The fact that I was salutatorian instead of valedictorian shows that I actually had some inkling of a social life. I had friends, crushes, and boyfriends. I cared about my weight and my looks. I wanted to be fashionable. I wanted to be all those things – plus a good student. So I was second-best in the school. Not the worst thing that could happen. Besides, if I had isolated myself from potential friends, I never would have learned guitar or joined drama club, or entered Smash Melee and Brawl tournaments. People did hurt me, yes. But not all of them. So then. This interacting with people thing started to look like it had some potential.
By college, I went from getting mostly As to a fair mix of As and Bs. I kept a steady GPA of 3.7 all throughout undergrad and grad school (how the hell I managed that, I have no idea). I didn’t use sparknotes until I was a sophomore in college. I was always early for class and never skipped… until I learned that perfect attendance doesn’t mean shit in college. By the time I reached grad school, I had learned to skip strategically by keeping track of how many absences I had before they started affecting my grade.
I learned that grades aren’t everything. I learned that I benefited more by half-assing classes I didn’t care much about so I could put my all into the classes that I loved. Even as a masters student in literature, I found time to read for fun and write my own stories. And I have friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a great sense of fashion, way too many books (and I need more), and a masters degree.
They say that you can only choose two of these three: Sleep, Good Grades, and a Social Life.
Crafty little me – I found a way to obtain all three.
Take that, Wall of Shame.