Greetings. First a little introduction; I am a current high-school senior, and this time of year is very stressful. It seems that it is the time of my life where I will be measured up, so to speak, with my peers, and perhaps have to decide my goals and future plans. I don’t want everyone to think this is a sob-story, because this is not what it is. It is a trial of self-discovery and realization. I’ve always known to have very low self-esteem. Now, I wouldn’t say that I have depression, because my problem is not an inherent sadness, but rather it is my disappointment in my comparison with others. It is almost like whatever I try to accomplish, someone else has accomplished it better than I did. One part of it is that I am so amazed with other’s abilities, and I feel that I can’t match up, but this seems normal. I attend a decent high school, where students need to pass an entrance exam to be admitted, so it is natural that some of them are very brilliant. Perhaps it is that the high-school environment is not the best to collaborate with work, as everyone is so interested in doing the best they can, and making sure that others are not as good. One thing that is making me feel this way is the college admissions process. Since I come from a “prestigious” high school, a large part of the students apply EA/ED, and of course, many are accepted. I was not able to apply EA/ED, due to problems with my personal statement and with test scores. People like to boast about their acceptances, deeming it a culmination of several years of work, and an affirmation of self-worth. I let it get to me, and I am personally affected by these acceptances. No matter how hard I try not to hear about them, the news always spreads around, and it makes me sad. For one thing, it makes me worried about my future, and what will happen with my applications. It is even worse now, given that a majority of the applications have already been sent, since I am now second guessing myself; I think that maybe I should have spent more time on them, or perhaps my essays were terrible, and therefore I will get rejected. The other part of it is seeing people who are the most pompous and lazy I know, getting accepted to schools that I want to attend. I’ve been told that these acceptances are random and that they don’t matter, but right now, my shortsightedness is not letting me see past that. For right now, it seems that I truly believe them to be a measure of self worth. Another thing happened today, which prompted me to write this post. Today, the Intel Semifinalist results came out. My school always has about 8 people win every year. I was very surprised that it almost felt like college admissions. I was not chosen as semifinalist, and I did not expect to. Yet, people I dislike (for various reasons) were. This was very disheartening for me. A student I worked with at the local lab became semifinalist. We had very similar projects, but he did not know how to perform many of the procedures, so I had to teach him. Needless to say, I am very surprised he became a semifinalist. I began to think about myself, that perhaps I am really stupid, or perhaps I am not that talented. In my desperation, I googled this student’s name. What I found was lists of awards, top 5% of the National Merit Scholarship, things like that. Things that I don’t have. I begin to ask myself why I am unable to reach such a high level of greatness. It is not only this other student, as many students in my own school show so much more accomplishments. I worry that similar things might happen with college admissions, and causing me to receive rejections. I think that maybe my already negative perception of myself is not negative enough. My school offers Linear Algebra and Multivariable calculus, but I did not even realize that I could take such classes. I am competing against people who have taken Calculus BC in Junior Year, when even in my Senior Year, I was not qualified to take that class. It is almost like I did not exert myself enough, that I did not give myself the opportunities that I should have taken. One teacher, who is very close to me, has told me that I don’t need to be so negative about myself. He tells me that I am just as capable as others, and I simply need to add the confidence that I don’t have. Apparently, he had similar feelings when he was my age, and he locked himself out of many opportunities because of it, and he doesn’t want me to repeat his mistake. I know that he tells me these things out of good intentions, but I don’t see how this is true, especially since it has become self-evident in high school accomplishments, and things like college admissions. This teacher then goes on telling me that I “will go very far,” but for the same reasons, I don’t see this happening. I will probably come back to this posting years later and call myself ridiculous for believing such things. Yet, I think it is good to express myself in this way, especially in such a time of mental-growth and expression.