It seems for a majority of my academic career, I’ve been striving for excellence. Even in kindergarten, I was determined to have the best macaroni art in my class. I’m not quite sure how this intrinsic motivation for perfection all started; part of me believes it was engrained into my subconscious from watching the Pokémon intro one too many times (“I want to be the very best / Like no one ever was”). Whatever the reason, I plowed through elementary school and middle school receiving top marks in my class.

In high school, I had no problem waking up at 6 a.m., going to school, being involved in a bunch of clubs and working a part-time job. I graduated in the top of my class and believed I would excel when I went to college.

My freshman year at Gannon went off without a hitch. I joined many clubs, had a social life and did well in my introductory and core classes. But, then came my sophomore year.  I found myself struggling to stay afloat as my classes became harder and more specialized to my major. Also, I couldn’t keep up with my schoolwork because I over-committed myself to organizations and didn’t have the time to devote to studying. So, my first semester of sophomore year added up to a less-than-perfect GPA, and I earned my first grade of (GASP) “B.”

To some people this might not seem like a big deal, there are plenty of bigger things to worry about; but to someone who is used to handling everything and passing classes with flying colors, this was a very eye-opening experience. It made me realize that I’m not Superwoman, I can’t possibly do everything. I can’t be perfect, and that’s okay.

This moment was pivotal to me. I realized that there was nothing wrong with getting less than a 4.0 in college. After all, this isn’t high school anymore. College brings challenges. It is a time of discovery and change. What worked in high school (a morning-to-night agenda filled with activity) isn’t going to work for me in college. I need some down time.

With my second semester I realized I had to change a few things. I reduced my class schedule to only seven classes instead of eight and also had to pull out of some activities that were less than enjoyable.  Time management became essential. Schoolwork is still the priority, but with that dreaded statistics class out of the way and the realization that I will never, ever have to take another math class again– for the rest of my life– I realize I can still be involved in those activities and clubs that make me happy, and if I get another “B,” well at least I can blog about it at a job I truly enjoy.