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Archive for April, 2019

On Qualifying Myself

Posted by Lissa on April 4, 2019

One of the interesting things I’ve realized by going back to school is that how I think I am presenting myself is NOT the same as how I actually come across.

I grew up with classic Middle Child Syndrome. I’ve always been an apple polisher, trying to prove to my teachers what a Smart Girl I am. It wasn’t brown-nosing for grades – I never kissed up because I wanted them to give me an A+ rather than a A- – but rather brown-nosing for approval. “Look Teacher, I’m working hard! I’m paying attention! I’ll bang your chalkboard erasers! Please like me!!”

I thought I’d mostly grown out of it in the fifteen years since I graduated college, but apparently it’s a classroom default for me. I have to really clamp down on my urge to be the first to have my hand up, the first to answer the question, the first to respond to open-ended discussions, etc., etc.

As I said at the beginning, here’s the interesting part for me: I’m just now realizing that how I want to be received is not at all how I will be received.

I think that I’m proving my worthiness to be in class. I’m proving my intelligence, my willingness to pay attention and work hard, and in return I hope to be recognized as a Good Girl / Smart Girl.

But I’m surrounded by children (my lab partner is not-quite-21) and grizzled, veteran nurse-professors. No one CARES whether I’m a Good Girl And A Smart Girl. No one thinks I have to suck up or prove that I’m Paying Attention, Really I Am!! Instead, they just think I’m showing off.

That’s a hard pill for me to swallow. It’s natural to every fiber of my being to try to qualify myself to my fellow students and especially to my professors. But I’m realizing that it probably irritates the shit out of everyone around me.

This week’s goal: Keep my mouth shut at least half the time I’d like to pop off with an answer. I don’t know if I’m capable of that amount of self-discipline, but there’s one way to find out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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