Four White Doves and An A-Minus

Anika - Paoli, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My mom would always take me to the mantle in the living room, stand on her tip-toes with me, and tell me how important was the message that the four doves on the candle holder were trying to teach me. Unfortunately, as an impatient nine-year-old, who just wanted to get back to watching TV, I would always reply that, yes, of course, I knew how meaningful the lesson was. It wasn’t until seven years after the seemingly inconsequential decoration found its home on the fire place that I would truly understand its significance.

Academically, I did not get off to a great start my junior year in high school, and after the initial Parent-Counselor meetings, my self esteem dropped to an all time low, as I began my self-condemnation. Why couldn’t I just be as smart as the other kids? What happened to me? Why was I not the Smart Girl anymore? During my fourth visit to the guidance counselor, he asked me if I wanted to drop down a level in math. My initial reaction was horror. How could, I, the Smart Girl take a lower level class? But my counselor knew something about me that I didn’t even know; I would eventually come to a more rational conclusion. And this was when those four white doves really came into my life.

When I went to see my counselor the next week, with my decision in mind and my course change form in hand, I was a new person. I had learned to accept myself for exactly who I was, assets, shortcomings and everything in between. I came to terms with myself: I was not the student who studied twenty hours a day to achieve that 99% average on their transcript. I could not, nor did I want, to be that student. I realized that if I didn’t want to be that student, that person, why should I feel bad about myself? I would study more often and participate more in class, but that was all I needed to do in order to love myself and be perfectly content with who I was. With the doves flying above my head, I left the office, feeling that I could conquer the world- with what I was, what I had- and nothing more. At the end of the day, I would be exactly who I wanted to be.

I learned that the greatest feeling really comes within, from accepting yourself for who you are and not trying to constantly change to become someone different.

Now, as the impending senior year, with all its essays and transcripts, its deferrals and rejections, is only a few calendar page flips away, I know that I will start off the next year already accepted- to the best place in the world- my own mind.