“Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.” -Pope John XXIII

IT HAD been my ultimate aspiration to pass through the Arch of the Centuries and graduate with flying colors. Apparently, it takes a serious amount of diligence and dedication to one’s studies to achieve such a feat.

But after entering UST, my priorities drastically changed.

“You have done well and we expect you to be better next grading period,” my parents would always tell me whenever I showed them my grades. At first, these remarks were flattering. However, as I grew up, the pressure became too much. I wanted to break free from the pressure of the high expectations in my academic standing. I felt that I needed to relax for me to explore the world beyond high grades and perfect scores.

Becoming laidback was obviously easy to do, most especially since I was such a complete stranger and no one had a clue of my reputation in high school as a diligent student. It was a huge sigh of relief for me, at least for quite some time.

Instead of studying hard for my practicals, I took my lessons haphazardly and kept on getting mediocre results. I became too distracted that it came to the point that my social skills became affected. I felt bothered most of the time so instead of having small talks and friendly banters with my classmates, I wanted to be alone. I knew something was wrong with what I was doing. It didn’t feel like I was doing what I had intended to do because the pressure of being good at my studies had always been there and I realized it did not only came from others but from myself too.

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A few months later, an inspiration came to me as my brother read the graduation speech of Mikaela Irene Fudolig, the 16-year-old summa cum laude of the University of the Philippines.

“Make new roads, blaze new trails and find new routes to your dreams,” my brother read.

In her words I found the answer. I became convinced that it was already time for me to cross the border, which I mistakenly set as limit to myself.

Eventually, I realized that expectations are not purposely there in life only to inflict pressure on people. With that thought, I was able return to my old habits of studying my lessons well without sacrificing time for socialization. My efforts eventually paid off as I started getting high scores again and I also felt that I found myself a better direction to live my college life.

From then on, I understood that people not only live with expectations set by others but also by themselves. Still, expectations must not limit a person from doing what she likes and what she ought to do.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we lift to You our fears that hinder us from growing. Guide us in our endeavors, which seem hard to overcome. Make us understand and help us to wholeheartedly accept Your will. All these we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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