I am not the perfect student

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Someone told me the other day that I was the perfect student. A careless comment, dropped by someone who meant well, who is confident in my perceived brilliance.

Brilliant would be the last word I would use. Someone who is brilliant is not naive, at the bottom or inexperienced in their subject of study.

I am still in college. I am a freshman. I may have more credits, but I don’t have the experience, the reading to back it up. There are days when I feel like I’ve mastered something, learned a new concept, and then hours later I sit in front of my computer feeling utterly humiliated by my lack of comprehension or beaten by an assignment. How can I possibly type anymore? How much more should I know? What did I do wrong?

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I live in my English professors’ offices, asking for critique, wanting more knowledge, more to read, more to do. How can I help with your event? What did you think about this paper? Most of the time I walk out feeling stupid, like I know nothing. The wealth of the knowledge of my professors pours out around me and I struggle in the current to keep from drowning.

Yes, I am an honors student. No, I am not brilliant, but I want to be. If I were to respond to criticism how I’d like to at times, I would have left long ago, hidden behind a mundane job and contented myself with freelancing. I hate feeling stupid, inadequate, like I haven’t done enough. I want to learn the things in every book, every essay that I skim through in search of research materials. I want to read every book by every author I am fascinated by. Maybe then I’ll know more, be able to impress more, to move further faster. But impossibility places me here, working towards that one day when I’ll be able to show one of my students how to edit a paper, teach them about Woolf, Austen, Shakespeare.

I’m not perfect. I am not the perfect student. I feel inadequate with my knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that I stop trying. I push on, because I know that one day this will all be worth it. I will know something, and I will be able to use that knowledge to the betterment of somebody or something.

I’m not the perfect student. I just keep on trying to learn, to grow, because in reality, that’s the best any college student can do.

(Photos: Salamanca, Madrid)

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