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I'm feeling kind of worthless

Community Member

The past couple years I've felt like I'm not smart enough. I want to be an engineer when I leave school but I feel like I haven't been paying attention enough in school and now that I'm in yr11 it's too late for me.

Everyone in my classes and all my friends are constantly getting higher marks than me and it makes me feel even worse about my self. The worst part is I keep judging my self against my own girlfriend who seems to always get higher makes than me no matter how hard I try. Even when I'm proud of my work she'll send me hers and it blows mine out of the water and It really sucks. Especially when I'm writing an essay for lit, it'll take me forever to write a single paragraph but my girlfriend will finish the entire thing in a single night and easily get 90% while mine completely sucks and barley makes sense. I've been trying really hard this year to improve it but nothing's changed and i'm starting to feel like I can't do anything about it and it really sucks because as childish as this sounds I really really really wish I was actually smart but I fear its too late for me to change. Not only so I can reach my life goals of working as an engineer but also just so I can feel like I fit in with everyone else. I've kind of gotten to a breaking point now where everytime my girlfriend send me her essay or a paragraph I have a mini breakdown because I feel so bad about my own intelligence.

I know this all sounds pretty stupid in the grand scheme of things but it's really important to me

7 Replies 7

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Willy, it's important for us to realise that at some stage in life, especially when you love someone, that life shouldn't be viewed as a competition, sure this is annoying you, but would your relationship change if you were always winning out, this could change the love between the two of you because that's very important.

I'm sure all of us want to be intelligent and achieve not only good but high marks in what we're studying, but you can't really compare yourself to your girlfriend as her subjects may be totally different to what you're studying for, but even if they are similar, again people have a better chance of accomplishing different results.

For example, who can run faster, you or her, or who can kick the football better if it's you, does it bother her because when competition like this happens it can cause negative thoughts, and once this begins it can slowly weaken a relationship.

In life, there will be other tasks you will be better at, and being in year 11 and from memory, our choice of what we want to become changes all the time, especially after watching a movie on TV we decide we want to become something else.

Who is more important to you at the moment, beating her at a subject or the relationship you both want, the future can be decided later on, so don't punish yourself.

Take care.


Community Member

Hi Geoff, thanks for the reply!

I'm kind of phrased this pretty terribly because it was late at night. My girlfriend and I are doing the exact same subjects except for one. I know I'm comparing my self unfairly to others but it's not just that. When I don't meet my own standards or the standards of my teachers I also feel this way. And I can't just lower my standards because it's already relatively low and I've been trying to improve my self so I can write essays easier but I don't really know where to start or if there even is anywhere to start.i should've worded this better from the start because I kind of went off In a bit of a tangent but is it possible to change? Is there still time for me to to become "smarter"

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello dear Willy,

Your story reminds me of my youngest son....He had a dream of working with electronic/electrical ever since he was a small boy....He didn’t like high school, his grades were low and he was totally bored with all the subjects at school...He also compared his grades to his peers and well..let’s just say he was well below their high grades....

It mattered very much to him, that his grades were low...and to his dad as well...but to me I knew that he was doing his best and that’s all that really counts....I told him that I was proud of him..because I knew what his best was...

He would spend hours of the day reading electronic books...He got lost in those books...

Full forward a bit..he started jigging school..never completed year 10 because he left school....He done the work for dole program in horticulture for a while, until he applied for a junior job in electronics...but he wasn’t a junior anymore....While he was at the interview and those electronic questions came up..he breezed passed them and was hired on the spot...He accepted juniors pay...He didn’t care about the money, he was just so happy that he was working his dream...

He stayed in that job ever since and now he is the factory supervisor...After nearly 20 years he still loves his job...

I told you this because, even though my son wasn’t very good at the school subjects...he is living his dreams...

If the schools subjects were about engineering I could imagine that you would probably top the class in your grades...because it’s what your interested in....It doesn’t matter that your friends are getting higher marks then you..What matters is that you know what you want to do after leaving school...and I hope that you will never give up on your dreams and you will you chase it with all your heart..

There is always taffe...and apprentices that you could learn about engineering and get your certification through...

Please don’t be to hard on yourself dear Willy...right now you are doing the best the can...and that is honestly the best you can do.....Just keep your dream alive, chase it and you will succeed in your chosen field, because it’s what your passionate about...it’s what you want....and I know that you can do it...believe in yourself....Comparing yourself to others is not really good..their are always people that are better at different things then other people..Doing your best is the best that you can do..

My kindest thoughts dear Willy..


Hi Will,

It depends what you mean by smarter. general Intelligence is largely set where our brain has put it. But that doesn’t mean your grades can’t improve. Sounds like this is causing you a lot of distress, which we know can impair our attention and memory which could translates into lower grades than you’d otherwise get... Different strategies can help you improve your grades too...

How is everything else in your life? Family, friends? Definitely sounds like you experience anxiety. Do you find yourself experiencing depression too?

Community Member

To be honest, I haven't really been putting the effort in, mostly because I'm afraid if I do I'll realise that I actually kind of stupid. Everytime I go to write and essay I get completely stuck and I don't know what to write, the thing is, I know what I'm supposed to write about and what I want to say I just can't out the pen to paper and actually turn the words in my head in to a paragraph, and If I do somehow manage to do that it either doesn't answer the question, makes no sense at all or is completely messy. And I really don't want to fail yr11 or yr12 because the uni course I want to get into requires I relatively high altar and at the moment there's no way I'll be getting in. But I don't know how to go about improving the thought pattern or skill that'll help me write better paragraphs and essays. And then because I'm focusing so much on the fact that I can't write properly it starts to have an effect on my other subjects because I tell my self that I can't do it

Sorry I keep going off on little tangents and this entire response probably doesn't make alot of sense either.

Community Member

Hi Will!

Can really hear you with this, and in particular with heading towards the end of school (Yr. 11 really means you have a lot on your plate and a lot to think about!).

Please understand that the best thing you can do is to be kind to yourself, and not to compare yourself to others and their achievements. We all have our skills and gifts and these are developed and presented as you go through life. If I can impart just some advice, please don't feel as though you need to be thinking about what you want to do as a career this early in life. Do your best, and play to your strengths and the rest will take care of itself. This is from someone who left school mid-Yr. 12 and worked for years before going to uni and completing an honours degree and am now doing a masters. It took me a long to to figure out what I want to do! But you know what, I did a lot of cool stuff and made a lot of necessary mistakes before finding what I wanted to do.

Take each day as it comes and try to have fun along the way!

Hi Willy,

Your post really resonates with my own thoughts. I'm 47 and doing uni for the second time. Every time, right from back at school, I get my assignment marks and I'm bitterly disappointed and jealous and feel like I don't have what it takes. I seem to know the stuff and I do the readings and all the course work but when it comes to sorting those thoughts in my head I am completely lost. I spend so much time editting and rewriting and still don't get it right.

Thing is....you only need to compete with yourself. If others don't see your potential, thats their loss. In the long run these things won't matter. If you aspire to a career in engineering and have the will, I believe you will get there. Don't give up.

I read an article on nihilism yesterday which is a strange philosophy that nothing really has real meaning. It's not for everyone but when you think too much about competition and other things that cause anxiety like covid, jobs, being liked, we can think ourselves into trouble.

We do our best. A pass is a pass and occasionally we surprise ourselves with great results. Just keep swimming (as Dory says). Let it go and keep going. Practice makes perfect in essays and there are lots of online tips and tricks.

Best wishes and don't be so hard on yourself.