This I Believe

Erin - La Vista, Nebraska
Entered on December 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Never Cry Over Spilt Milk

As a sixth grader, my personal perspective on life was that school comes first and good grades will get myself far. How far and to where? I had no idea. I didn’t have many friends and that didn’t bother me. I concentrated on school and was a perfectionist. If something didn’t go my way, I dealt with it by pouting and crying. Of course, I’ve grown up (I hope). Reminiscing about my elementary school memories, one particularly sticks out. I will never forget the day when my sixth grade teacher say to me, “Erin, don’t cry over spilt milk.” I realized how much of a baby I was and how much I let little red check marks on my test affect my emotional stability.

I didn’t feel confident taking the test in the first place, so I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. When my teacher placed that test face down on my test, I immediately flipped it over and saw that I missed more than half of the test questions. I was devastated. Yes, as a sixth grader, I worried about grades on all my tests. I felt a sense of immense failure overwhelming my body. I knew I had reached a point in which I took grades a bit too serious. I started to cry. I worried that my parents would be disappointed. I was my parents’ pride and joy, and look what I did: I got less than a 50% on a science test in sixth grade.

My teacher kneeled down beside me and asked what was wrong. I didn’t respond and kept on weeping quietly with my head down hidden in my crossed arms on my desk. I was extremely embarrassed because I was obviously the only one in my class who took school way too seriously, and I was making a huge deal out of simply nothing. My teacher rubbed her hand up and down my upper back in an attempt to comfort me. She then told me “Erin, don’t cry over spilt milk. It’ll all be fine. It’s just a test.” I had never heard that expression before in my life. I gathered myself together. Why couldn’t I just keep it in and at least cry when I got home? The test grade really wasn’t a big deal, and I made it to be. I definitely cried over a spilt glass of milk.

From then on, I figured the concept of perfectionism isn’t real. Now, I don’t look at things having the ability to be perfect, but as having potential to be extraordinary. Working on something to be absolutely flawless is almost impossible, so why waste my time on one thing, when I can reach my own potential on that thing and move on to something else I have potential in excelling in. I have decided to not let a glass of spilt milk ruin my ability to reach what I have defined as my true, full potential.