26 March 2011

On Defining Oneself

Sweet baby seedlings.

This past week was a rough one. I struggled with classes, getting minimal sleep and feeling behind on everything - deriding myself for not starting my projects earlier, for not being able to manage getting only four or three or two hours of sleep a night, and for the certainty that the grades I'll receive from this week's assignments will bring my overall grades down and ultimately will most likely affect my GPA.

Yet there is a lesson here. I must remind myself that I tried hard. I pushed myself and I did the best with the time I had, and because of elements beyond my control, I was not responsible for all of the reasons I was behind. My eyes were suddenly opened this week to the fact that I think my grades define me. The idea of getting a low grade on an assignment, however large or small, makes me feel inadequate and unintelligent, incapable and lazy. I think too much about how teachers will see me when I do not do well in their classes; I in a strange and silly way believe that they will only like me if my grades are high. (Won't they like me for who I am as a person?)

What I need to learn is this: my character does not depend upon quantifiable "proof" of who I am. I am a hard worker. I am compassionate towards others. I am creative and kind and smart. I am a good person, and my grades in no way define me. (Also, it's ridiculous to ask my mind and body to function on just a few hours of sleep a night!)

In what ways do you define yourself? Are you gentle with yourself, or are you setting yourself up to impossible standards, like me? Be assured that you are, no matter what, a beautiful, unique, incredible soul and who is so, so loved. You are so very important to this world, as perfectly imperfect as you are!

This was taken two weeks ago - now the daffodils are in full bloom!

Other interesting things this week:
  • Spring has officially arrived! How are you celebrating?
  • iHanna wrote a really helpful how-to on altered books; I am hoping my next visit to the thrift store will result in my finding a perfect-for-me book to play in!
  • This is a fantastic post about the rules of art journaling that you absolutely must read. (It's by the lovely Daisy Yellow, who will be teaching at 21 SECRETS with me!)
  • I taught myself how to do a coptic binding stitch with this video. It's much easier than I thought it would be!
  • I've been adding to my Flickr favorites for years, saving all those art journal pages that inspire me and/or show a new technique I'd like to try. Check the photos out here!
  • 21 SECRETS opens on Friday! Woo! Sign up now!


Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

My grades defined me for a long time. In some ways, I think they still do. The transition from being a great undergrad student to one that's been struggling in grad school (well, in philosophy at least, not science studies) has been really, really difficult for me. I feel like I'm always behind everyone else, and yet I know there are other talents I have that allow me to shine. I'm trying to embrace those. My next step is reminding myself that I'm not perfect and can't do everything in a day.

gypsy said...

Seeing this topic in hindsight, I think it makes sense to do your best work {while taking care of your physical and emotional health} and whatever the grade is, it is. The grade is assigned by a computer or professor and is often skewed in ways beyond your control. My best wishes for your studies!!! And thank you for including kind words about the art journaling rules post. See you at 21 Secrets!

Vintage is for Lovers said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful blog. Just found you via Brandi! When I heard the quote, "Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself," that was the shift for me! xo Samantha

Kimberlee said...

I can relate to your post, and totally understand where you are coming from. It is good to see that you are realizing these things and may be able to let go of some of the internal pressure you put on yourself. In the long run, it really doesn't matter what your GPA is. I have never had anyone ask me what my GPA was. :) But congrats on pursuing your education and taking it seriously. :)


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