Letter From The Editor: March Edition


What happens when reality doesn’t match up with our expectations? Does this disconnect equate to failure? Failure is a mindset. Disappointment stems from unmet expectations. Sometimes, we set standards that are too high, setting ourselves up for failure. Yet we don’t want to set them too low, either. We need a balance; reality offers that balance. The trick is to accept what actually happens.

A big component of making expectations is goal setting. Many goals are made every year in the form of New Year Resolutions. How long do those really last? The majority of people create a resolution just to say they have one. It’s a trend; most don’t plan to commit. Simply setting the goal was enough, maintained or not.

On the other extreme, some people do take their resolutions seriously. Some work day in and day out to achieve their goal. They’re so engaged that missing a day is utterly disappointing. They mess up once and feel like a failure, despite all their hard work beforehand. That single slip-up makes them quit entirely. I am one of these people. At least I used to be.

I’ve always lived in a world of exceedingly high expectations. What’s interesting is that I’ve never been pressured by anyone; succeeding was just natural. In my youth, I performed at the top of my class and was thrust into the Gifted Program in 1st grade. I was the fastest at math in my 3rd grade class. I naturally excelled so I automatically expected myself to continue. There was no reason I shouldn’t.

I’ve put myself on such a high pedestal that I shut down if I get close to falling off. If my result didn’t meet my expectations, I’d call myself a failure. A single B+ on a mid-term report card taints my GPA, sending me down a rabbit hole where I imagine  I will fail all my classes, dropout of high school, and live at my grandparents house forever. None of these things are true–quarter grades aren’t even counted in GPA– but these are very real thoughts running through my mind in that moment. This is how I would respond to the “failure” of getting an  87% on a physics test.

I’ve hardly set New Year resolutions in the past, but I decided to make one this year. After failing NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — and not writing creatively for a while, I decided to challenge myself to write something or be creative some way, every day. It would be very doable because I set no boundaries, allowing the writing to be as grand or as small as I wanted it to be. I started on the small side with short poems each day. Except I missed the 6th day, not even a week in.

Before, I would have been harsh on myself for failing. The task was so simple, but I still failed. Then I realized that being upset wouldn’t do me any good. I did catch up on some studying that day, as well as spending some quality family time. It was nowhere near an unproductive day. I realized that although I may not have met my expectation to be creative, I still had what could be categorized as a successful day. Missing one day doesn’t mean I can’t continue working toward my goal.

For a girl who has always met the expectations, I now have a greater understanding that life can be great even if expectations and reality don’t always meet. Likewise, our staff is using this edition of the Oracle to explore and compare the expectations and realities of events and activities around East High School.