Confessions of a Teenage Over-achiever

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I cannot tell you how often I was bored in school.  Everything seemed so easy most of the time.  If it weren’t for my parents (especially my mother) I could have easily been a problem child.  We were required to complete all our homework.  If we complained that it was too easy then we had better not make any mistakes.  If we did than she would make us do it all over again to show her that we really did understand the material.  We were placed in advanced programs when available.Good Enough Was Not Good Enough

Just because I could skate many of my subjects does not mean that I was allowed to.  All homework was to be completed correctly, on time and turned in.  I was required to do my best in school.  If it really was too easy than she would talk to the teacher and see if there was more advanced work that I could do.

Grade school was fun and challenging when I had the right teachers.  I remember classes where I did a lot of art projects and extra things because I got my work done so quickly.  While I enjoyed the fun things, I was bored in class.  I began to crave mental challenges.

The “C” That Put Me Over

I can only remember one “C” in my entire primary school career.  I was in the seventh grade.  It was a timeline assignment in my world history class.  I just dawdled over it because it seemed so easy.  Then I started to run out of time and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to complete it correctly.  I crammed as much into it as I had time and then turned it in incomplete.  I got a “C”.  Me!  I was so disappointed in myself and knew my parents would be too.

I promised myself that I would not let that happen again.  How embarrassing!  I buckled down and made sure that my assignments were completed on time.  I broke each assignment into individual segments and put each segment into a step-by-step plan.  Each step had its own specific requirements, time allotment and completion date.

Boredom Be Gone!

After the seventh grade I was never bored in school again.  I started in the advanced seventh grade classes because of my high test scores in grade school.  I made sure that I stayed in the advanced classes.  I worked hard and expected nothing but the best from myself.

I was one of those weird kids who really enjoyed school and especially the more difficult advanced classes.  I loved the challenge.  I enjoyed the work (most of the time).  Yes, I did complain about homework.  It is required of teenagers.  I didn’t want my friends to think I was a total brainiac.

The Little Brain That Could

By the time I was ready to start highschool I knew what classes I was going to take.  As I listed the classes I had a couple of teachers tell me that I had set my sights to high.  English for College and Humanities would be too advanced for me.  I asked them one question.  Why?  Their response was that the classes were college level and they didn’t think I was ready for that.  I looked at them in surprise.  Then I smiled and told them that I would be just fine.  I had older siblings that had taken those classes and I knew what they required.  Reluctantly these two well-meaning teachers signed off on my class choices.

While I may not have been the most popular student socially, I was really thriving in the honors classes.  My friends thought I was a loon for taking four honors classes at the same time (English, Humanities, history and math).  I would look at them, laugh and say, “But it is so much fun!”

I’m Failing!

Not really.  I would get horrendously upset if I got a “B+” and worry about failing my classes.  With so many honors classes I couldn’t afford to miss school.  The amount of homework I had kept me really busy and if I missed a day it was heck to get caught up.

This is where my study system came in really handy.  Each day I would look at my assignments and separate them into categories according to due dates:  immediately, short-term and long-term.  I would, of course, do all the work due the next day first.  Then I would do one thing on each short and long-term assignment’s check list.

Work Hard, Play Hard

I spent many hours happily doing my homework.  Right.  While I enjoyed what I was doing I would get tired of studying and go do something fun.  While we were taught that hard work was required and could be enjoyable, we were also taught that play time was a necessity.  In my family we played as hard as we worked.

Music was a big deal in my family.  We all learned to play at least one instrument.  I learned to play the piano, violin, mandolin and sing.  We often had family “jam sessions”.  Music was played and often not everyone knew it.  We all learned to sight-read very well amongst calls of “I got the last note!”  and “Are you sure you were playing the right song?”

I was also in the marching band in high school.  I was on the flag and rifle teams.  Practices were frequent and long, but I really had a lot of fun.  It was good physical exercise and I enjoyed learning the required physical dexterity and balance required.  We were a competitive band so there were competitions on weekends.  We also marched in parades and performed at every home football game.

Then, of course, there was my church youth group.  I was often involved in planning activities and enjoyed attending all the functions.  We had religious classes one evening a week followed by some sort of an activity.  We had a dance every month that I really looked forward to.  I would dance every dance.  If the guys did not ask me, I asked them.  Swim parties, BBQ’s and water balloon fights in the summer.  Indoor activities in the winter.

Gotta Earn Money

With eight siblings my parents favorite phrase was, “get a job.”  Starting at age eleven I began babysitting.  I charged less than my friends and was really good with kids.  I got a lot of work and always had the money for my activities.

I’m Not Sick!  I’m Just Tired.

My mom had me tested for Mono a few times because I was always tired.  The test results always came up negative so the doctor would ask me about my schedule.  After I got done telling him everything I was doing from when I got up at 5am until I went to bed around midnight he would look at me and say, “You are too busy.  You need to cut down on your activities.  You really need more sleep.”  I would roll my eyes and laugh.  I was having too much fun doing everything I was doing.

Okay, so this post is a lot longer than I had intended.  But, as you can see, I was a very busy teenager.  I was not about to let the darkness of depression or my volatile mood swings prevent me from doing what I wanted.  No wonder I was always so exhausted.  Doing all those things while carrying a baby dragon in my head.


11 thoughts on “Confessions of a Teenage Over-achiever

  1. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
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  3. I was never that kind of teenager. Much to the chagrin of my parents, friends and boys won every time over studying. But I find myself now with a 16 year old son who sounds just like you. Thanks for giving me a glimpse inside his head 🙂

    • You are more than welcome. I don’t know what is harder, being a teenager or the parent of one. Thank you for stopping by to chat.

    • I must confess that it was not by choice in the beginning. My parents were very strict when it came to education and expected us to excell. However, by the time I started my freshman year I was totally focused on getting the best from my education. I had a lot of fun during my teenage years, despite struggling with bipolar and depression.

      • You have such an amazing story! I am really glad that you shared it; don’t worry, you are not the only person who enjoyed challenging courses. It is unfortunate that our society encourages a negative view of those who enjoy learning. We need to swim against the tide…

        • I have been just as hard on my children. What scares me the most is that my children have learned how to learn and how to work hard which makes them totally out of place in their generation. Some of their peers have tried to “ride their coat tails” but my children have refused to share their homework. Instead of praise my children have been criticized for doing well because it was not fair to the other students. Really?!

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