Midterm grades are coming out soon and, if I’m finally being honest with myself, I haven’t done well at all. In fact, that’s pretty much an understatement. This is my first semester at a very intense school, and the level of work and effort required of us has been really difficult, way harder than my previous school. The issue is my parents have no idea! I haven’t been completely truthful with them about my progress and experience in school, and when they find out…let’s just say it won’t be pretty. Help! What should I do?
Nervous in New Hampshire
Dear Nervous in New Hampshire,
Thanks for writing in! First, I’m sorry you’re having a challenging time at your new school. Adjusting to a new environment is never easy, and sometimes we try to fake it ‘til we make it. The thing about faking it is that, eventually, the faker can no longer tell the difference between reality and fantasy. The more one masks, the harder it is to stop and unmask. No matter what difficult situation you find yourself, always be honest with yourself for it’s during challenging times that we learn and grow. Now, that advice is for the future, so how can we resolve the present?
The answer hasn’t changed: take off the mask and be honest with yourself, your parents, and your teachers.
Reflect on your situation and ask yourself what’s really going on? What’s challenging about your classes? What’s challenging about your new school? What are your weakness and strengths? It may be useful to work with your teachers to figure out where and how you can improve.
As you map out ways to make progress, also learn how to self-advocate. If you find yourself getting lost in the discussion or misunderstanding a math problem, meet with your teacher and/or request a tutor. Don’t let fear (or pride) stand in the way of your success.
And when it comes to your parents, you just have to spill it. Be open and honest with them about what’s going on with you in school, why you chose to hide the truth from both yourself and them, and how you’ll improve your grades.
In life, we all experience difficult moments and challenging transitions, but you mustn’t cower and hide. Be true to yourself and those around you. Trust me when I say that how you handle these types of experiences builds character. Good luck!