I received a letter a few days ago notifying me of my candidacy for Presidential Scholar. At first I thought it was another silly flattering begging scheme from some school, but at second glance it seemed to be something more. Addressed from the U.S. Department of Education, it stated that I was of 3,000 high school seniors in the nation who will soon be vying for a 150 or so spots for Presidential Scholars. The scholars get a free trip to the White House, tour D.C., meet the president, and have this crazy title for life. After stalking the website I realized that from my school it was me and the three-person 36 club. The 35-ers, myself included, were below the cut. Except my SAT score qualified me. The 1600 did it. How awkward of me, to be stuck in a group with the most academically perfect people in the school. Why me? I'm not sure that I deserve this. My SAT as I've said many times before, was a one time fluke. I would never in my life be able to pull it off again no matter how many times I took it. Why is this me? Nobody expects it from me. People at my school are way smarter than me, why am I in this category and they aren't? It's such a huge honor that it's almost unheard of, if that makes any sense. My school counselor had no idea what it was when I went to her in confusion. I think there's less fuss about it than for the National Merit Scholars, and this means a heck of lot more. I feel embarrassed about it, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There's no way I'm going to get to be a real Presidential Scholar, and I'm not even sure that I can get to be a semifinalist. I'm going to be competing with people like DC, and literally the smartest and most motivated people in America. I know it's all based on a silly test score, but it's so insane that I am grouped with these kinds of people. I never did anything great like write a book or do research. I'm just a normal person who just happened to be motivated at the right time and do well on a lot of things society values and rewards.
This was never supposed to be me, I think. But maybe it was? But nobody is supposed to be anyone in particular I guess. It's just random chance. But maybe I had a good chance. I don't even know how this world works anymore, not that I ever did. Now that the semester is over and I ended up with a perfect 5.0 on a 4.0 scale, I really feel like a freak and a little bit of a stranger to myself. Maybe I'll end up on the top 5% wall, and if not I won't be too disappointed because I obviously could not have done anything this year to get up there anyway. It made me think of how when I was kindergarten, my teacher asked us what our goals were, and I said I wanted to be in the top 5% of my class. This was before I even knew there was a wall for it, before I moved into this school district, before I even knew what GPA was. Some things might be just meant to be, or maybe they are just random chance. I should know better than to think too hard about that though. It's beyond human capacity to concretely know any of these those big universe questions. No matter what though, I never want to forget my freshman year, my academic apathy, the middle school blues. Remembering it helps to keep the head inflation away. I still want to be a relatable person, even if I achieved all this stuff that only crazy people achieve. And I mean crazy in a good way. I want to meet all these crazy people though, and see if they are normal like me too, or if they are actually crazy. Of course there are those few who are legitimate geniuses, (PA is the closest one I've met,) but in other aspects they are somewhat lacking.
On a somewhat related note, today my friend was talking about someone who she thinks is perfect in every way imaginable. There are always those people that everyone looks at and thinks are perfect in every way, from grades to looks to personality, and occasionally all at once. But that's impossible. Every person is flawed, and deeply so. I'm finding that once I get to know anyone, no matter how perfect they were to me before, all the things they are wrong and naive about become too apparent to me. I have not met a single person who is actually perfect, and those who I once thought were perfect are in reality far from it. I used to want to be other people, but now I can see that they are all as wrong as I am. They may have a lot going for them, but there are things wrong with them that I can't deal with either. I've already grown used to my own flaws anyway so I might as well just keep them rather than trade them for others. I can't imagine being anyone but myself. I know that people see me as perfect, but I'm not. I'm far from it, and at the moment I'm okay with it. While my appreciation for myself fluctuates hourly, I am pretty satisfied and honestly even a little shocked at how well I've turned out despite myself.