A letter to those who feel like they will never measure up.

By Sarah Smith

Don’t measure up?

I’ve been there.

I know how it is.

Heck, I am there.

I constantly work -- I would dare say harder than almost everyone around me. To look good. To be good at things. To be smart because, for me, it doesn’t come easy.

Effortless beauty? For me, there’s no such thing.

Naturally smart? For me, a myth.

It seems like at a place like Ole Miss, everyone is handed their perfect lives on a silver platter. And to be fair, many are. But many aren’t. I heard the story from a lady the other day who was a full student, employee, mother, and wife all at the same time...and was she taking 15 hours? No, she was taking 19. So not everyone is handed everything. A good reminder to anyone who feels like me.

But that doesn’t change the fact, that sometimes it’s a little discouraging as a person who believes in working hard for what I have. I try to be proud of the fact that I’ve earned what I’ve gotten. Yet, sometimes I just wonder what’s it like to not have to work for it? What’s it like to be expected to go to college? Many people thought I would never make it in college because most people where I’m from don’t go.

Back when I was dreaming of going to college, because that’s what college was for me for a long time….a dream, something intangible and unattainable. For example before the ACT, I’d never written an essay. Hell, I hardly even knew what it was until I had to start practicing for the ACT. Going into basic college writing courses, I felt like I didn’t measure up because, honestly, I didn’t. I had no formal writing training in my home school education. I taught myself everything throughout high school. I felt like it showed to others, I wasn’t smart. I wasn’t as a good. I wasn’t worthy of this chance.

I suppose maybe I wasn’t. I suppose maybe I’m not.

But honestly, does it matter? I know that’s jarring. But does it? So what if I don’t measure up to whatever “perfection” is facing me? I mean, really, how does that affect me? It doesn’t. Unless I let it. Same for you, girl.

It doesn’t matter how “perfect” people’s lives are or seem.

Maybe they worked for it.

Maybe they didn’t.

But does my life?

Nope. It doesn’t change the fact that I got what I got in life. As cliche as it is, life isn’t fair. We can whine about it, or we can choose to be our best self. No matter how privileged everyone around you is—you’re pretty privileged too. You have a life. You are reading this—you have a chance to overcome wherever you come from and become better. It’s your choice to never stop learning and learning in everything you do.