Never limit yourself. You don’t have to choose between STEM and the arts. You don’t have to choose between that aesthetic or the other. Just let yourself be the most authentic self you can be, embrace all the different aspects of your personality, your interests, and your skills.

Friendly reminder - you’re not a full time professional athlete. you’re not a fashion icon. you’re not supposed to be perfect. Shitty grades happen and it doesn’t mean you’re not smart. So if you’re trying to balance studying, working, volunteering, exercising, learning languages, and expect to be a perfect multilingual Victoria Secret model with straight As, a job, and volunteer time, as well as being a good friend and making time for yourself, you’re gonna have a massive breakdown and fail. You don’t have to be perfect. Navigating into academia is hard. Nobody is asking you to be perfect. Results matter, sure, but effort is important and valuable as well. You’re learning. 

Okay, so you’ve been called smart all your life. As a kid, you were one of the smartest in your class. Maybe you could read at a much higher level than your peers, or you could fly through multiplication drills like they were nothing. Then, you get to high school and suddenly you’re surrounded by lots of people who were ‘gifted kids’. None of what made you ‘special’ seems all that important now. Your work is actually challenging, and it’s actually requiring effort.

If you’re experiencing this, just know that so many students have gone through the same thing. Maybe it happens in high school, maybe college. But a lot of us who were considered gifted as kids suddenly run into this and it challenges our entire identity. It can be paralyzing, but it’s 100% possible to overcome it and succeed! I’ve compiled a few tips for ex-gifted kids dealing with impostor syndrome and self-doubt. I’m not a therapist, psychologist, or any sort of education expert. I’m just speaking to my own experiences, and I welcome any input from others who have insight into this as well!

1. Understand that working hard does not mean you aren’t intelligent. If something doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s not a reason to give up. Believing that people can do things “just because they were born with a talent for it” is only going to hurt you. It’s not true! People may have natural aptitudes for things, but hard work is involved even for the smartest or most talented people. You are capable of learning anything, and you don’t have to be “good at it” right away to do so.

2. Comparison will kill you. You are your only competition. Focusing on how you rank with other students, and comparing yourself to your classmates is going to exhaust you. By focusing on others, you can’t put your full energy into focusing on your work and yourself. You belong. Even if you struggle with your work, you belong. Focus on your own self-improvement and doing your best.

3. Don’t focus on the goal, focus on your current actions. If you’re always thinking about the future, and about whether you’ll get into that school or that program or win that award or get that scholarship, you’re not using that time to get work done. Don’t worry about college applications, just do your homework. Focus on what you are doing now to reach your goals so you can apply to schools with confidence later.

4. Your grades may not reflect intelligence, but they do reflect work ethic. Don’t let others convince you that grades mean nothing. They sure as hell mean a lot to colleges, and thinking that you should “reject the current education system” is not going to harm anyone but yourself. If you don’t feel like you’re learning anything in your high school classes, that’s all the more reason to want to get into a university that will challenge you. If you put effort into your work, it will not let you down. Your hard work will be reflected on your transcript. Don’t lose focus.

5. Talk to someone. Let people know if you’re struggling. It can be hard to feel like you aren’t allowed to identify as “smart” or to feel pressure to constantly compete and improve. I went to a highly competitive high school that pushed kids to cope in dangerous ways. This is not healthy and not okay. If you’re feeling overwhelmed you need to find healthy coping mechanisms. Speak with someone you trust and don’t let yourself spiral. Don’t try to self medicate. Your well being is always more important than your grades. Period.

6. Enjoy yourself. School may seem like hell, and you may feel like it will never end and you’ll always be stressed and worried. But high school is only four years, and you can do things during that time that you probably won’t ever again. Take advantage of things that seem fun, even if people think they’re nerdy or weird. Try and remind yourself that you’re lucky to have your education and you have the power to do great things with it. Don’t lose sight of your own ability and your bright future!

in case you needed to hear this today:

🌷 it will get better, even though it feels like u will feel this way forever.

🌼 there are people who found you beautiful or radiant and you never knew it.

🌻 you have survived all your worst days.

💛 bad days are always temporary.

🌹you’re not behind. trust the timing of your life.

🌱 you are growing through this.

🌻 right now, you’re exactly where you are meant to be.

⛅️ every day is a new chance to start again.

🌸 it’s never too late to change, it’s not a race.

🌼 take things one day at a time. you will get there.

College things that people won’t tell you about (Warning: brutal honesty included)
  • The food

You will most likely get sick if you are not used to the food that the university cafeteria serves. Not in a “oh god I’m dying and throwing up everywhere” sick, but more in a subtle way: slight stomachache, maybe some constipation, gas, or diarrhea, it all depends of how your body reacts to it, how the food is being prepared, and what you are eating.

Talking about what you are eating. You will have the option to get a burger and fries for every meal, or pizza, or cake. Don’t do it. For your health’s sake, don’t. I know it sounds tempting, and I know fries for every meal is delicious (fry lover here!), but I am telling you from experience, you will regret eating the same greasy food so often and your body will show it for you. 

For about a week in college I started to not care about myself (e.g. neglected skin care, ate crappy food, did not exercise, was barely doing my school work), and it was starting to show. I gained about five pounds in just those days (more about it later), my skin was greasy and I was getting pimples like crazy, I was having stomachaches everyday, and I felt as if I was getting lazier as days went by. I decided to change my eating habits. I chose fruit and salads instead of a burger and fries/pizza. And it helped me get my life together a little bit. I felt healthier and my skin cleared up.

  • Freshman 15 

Yes. You will gain weight. It is normal, and you should not freak out.

There will be lots of food available to you and no one to stop your from eating what ever you want. You will have more than too many snacks sometimes, or a second dinner because you decided to go eat again with your friends. It’s okay. Try to stay active so the weight changes are not extreme; go for a walk, or go out running, hit the gym often, practice your sport, etc. Just keep moving.

If you think you might be dealing with an eating disorder, contact your clinic and they will put you in touch with psychological help available on campus. Remember, nothing wrong in admitting that you are having problems, help is always there.

  • Condoms and Sexuality

When it comes to sexuality, I am open to discuss the subject as if we were simply talking about groceries, you can just ask my friends. I consider that I’m a very sex positive person, because it should not be a taboo subject (unless it is making someone uncomfortable). We need more sex education available (luckily, Planned Parenthood had some workshops at my school, and being who I am, I dragged my friends with me to one), many people do not know how to even put on a condom, or what sex might lead to (pregnancies and STIs/STDs).

Anyway, I’ll keep it simple: carry your own condoms even if you yourself are not sexually active (check that they are not expired, ripped, and keep them in a safe place); if you decide to be sexually active, in any way (one night stands or something more stable), get tested (there are many resources on campus, if you do not want to use them, look for the nearest clinic and get it done there); if you think that sex is just not your thing (i.e. asexuality, saving yourself for marriage, etc.) that is perfectly fine and you should not let anyone shame you for your decision or pressure you into having sex.

  • Snacks and Water

Carry snacks with you at all times, especially if you are planning on being out most of the day. You will get hungry, and therefore grumpy or weak. Also, carry a reusable water bottle so you can keep yourself hydrated.

It can be fruit, bars, trail mix, anything that can be considered a snack. Now if you want to carry a lunch with you, I am not stopping you.

  • Peer Pressure

This is not something that happens only in HS. It happens everywhere, and if you feel like you are being pressured into doing something (alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex, anything) stand your ground and be firm with your decision. I don’t care if you think you might lose friends or look like a weakling, if you do not want to do something, NO ONE should force you to do it. In the case that you are feeling uncomfortable in any given situation where peer pressure is taking place, get out of there; forget about “looking good for your friends” or “being cool with them”.

  • Extra Chargers

Carry your chargers with you at all times. Your laptop charger and also your phone’s, you might not know what might come up that will force you to be out working for long periods of time ahem, group projects that require you to meet until late at night or that take almost six hours.

  • Laundry

For goodness’ sake, DO YOUR LAUNDRY once a week. (I usually do it on Thursdays because i have noticed is the day with the least people. Try not to do it on Sundays, everyone does it on Sundays)

Story time because, why not?

I once went about three weeks without doing laundry. It started with me just being lazy and saying that I would do it in a few days, then next thing I know it’s midterm season and those days turned into weeks. By the time I decided to do my laundry, I already had both of my laundry bags completely full (I had to take my spare laundry bag from my storage thing lol). The trips to the laundromat were easy, except for having to carry those heavy laundry bags. Once I got there I had to wait for washing machines to be empty…. 

What I am trying to say is: don’t put yourself in the position that I was in. Be responsible and do your laundry often. I’m also saying this because dirty laundry might get smelly such as gym clothes, and you don’t want to stink up your dorm.

  • Exercise

Try to stay active. I know we all think that walking from class to class is enough physical activity, but no. Go for a walk, try to go for a run, ride your bike around, go to the gym, and try to do these things at least 3 times a week. If you do not stay active, you will store extra fat, your joints will hurt, you’re prone to suffer stress more. If you struggle with doing physical activity, get together with a friend or a groups of friends and simply go for a walk; it takes away the stress and you are moving at the same time. 

Just stay active.

  • Majors

No shame in changing your major. So you thought you were going to college to study something but along the way you realize that you prefer something else, good, change it. Don’t stay doing something that makes you unhappy only because you started with it. Changing your mind is part of any process, and in college it will happen a lot of times.

  • Time management

Get your shit together. I’m saying it like that because that is how I realized that I needed to manage my time better. 

Get a planner, some apps to help you manage your time, study in time lapses and take good breaks, have a plan for the day, prioritize your school work over social events or parties or whatever it is that has been taking your time and distracting you from doing your work, get some to-do lists and cross items out as you complete them, have a goal for each day (”today I want to finish this essay and proofread it”). 

Finish what needs to get done first so you can go and do any other things that you want. Create a balance.

  • Money Management

We’re broke college students I’m just stating the facts here.

Try to have a spending plan, or a budget, and  stick to it. Save some money from the money you get (when I get $10, I save $3). And I know I am always advocating to the whole Treat-Yo-Self thing, but don’t abuse it. Treat yourself but think, ‘do I really need this? how many times will I actually use it? can I get it for cheaper?’ Think before you buy, so you won’t end up just wasting money that you WILL need later.

You can get a piggy bank if that is what works for you, but just try to not waste money on useless things. Remember that money does not grow on trees, and it is something that is earned with hard work, so value it.

Also, don’t go out every day or try to spend money the way your friends spend money. Allow yourself to say “I cannot afford that right now”, no shame on that. Don’t feel bad for having to turn down plans because you have more important spending to do. It’s okay, really, your friends will understand. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of my points, message me and I will gladly talk to you. And let’s remember that as Studyblrs, we are here to help each other and build each other up.

If you still have questions about something and I did not include it in a post, let me know and I can write about it.