I've been attending the University of Texas at Dallas for the last 3 years as an accounting major. My first year, I had some organizational problems and I did not do very well at all. I've since spoken to someone who was able to help me get organized. I've been on the Dean's list with a 4.0 GPA the last 2 semesters. However, as a result of my initial mistakes, I'll likely have to attend college for 4.5 years as opposed to just 4. Maybe this is irrational, but this fact, along with my 3.0 GPA have made me feel quite inadequate. I'd go as far as to say I feel stupid. I guess I feel like a reasonably intelligent person would be able to finish in 4 years? (Especially a business major) I don't know if things are as bad as I feel like they are, but if they're not, I'd certainly like to feel better about myself. Do you know any methods I might use to boost self esteem? I just don't want to feel like I'm stupid if I'm not.

Ben's Answer:

First, I have to make this point very clear: Nobody who gets a 4.0 for two semesters in college accounting is "stupid." Second, I worry more about people who get perfect grades all through college. It's a pretty good indicator that they'll end up work-obsessed, will not even know how to have fun, let alone make time for fun in their life after college, and will develop all sorts of stress-related issues.

Most people's college years are the first time of life that they experience true independence and freedom. It's a time to find yourself, discover what you're really passionate about, learn more about relationships, explore diverse interests, deepen your humanity. If you're not perfect - thank God!

If you want to develop your self-esteem, practice relating to as many different people, and as many different kinds of people as you can, and simply learn to be your own, genuine self. (And try to have fun doing it).

A personal note: In my last year of college I busted my rear to get great grades. I distanced myself from many of my friends, and didn't have much fun. Then it all abruptly ended. I said goodbye to some of the best friends I'd ever had, and moved away. If I could do it over again, I would have lightened up and had a little more fun my last year there. The grades were inconsequential in my future life. But relationships are priceless.

Take Care - and don't be so hard on yourself -

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