Stella Valentino


“[I am] most afraid of getting so lost in school that I stop talking to everybody and lose all my friends. I don’t want that, but it’s really possible right now. My friends are basically [my] only escape from school and the pressure [to succeed]. Holding on to that little piece of social life is really important to me. The social part of school and the actual schoolwork part of school is way out of balance. We don’t have that social part at all. So when you’re sitting down to do schoolwork, you’re not also talking to friends while you’re doing it, you’re just working. It can be very draining. It’s really difficult to [balance], but I just try and do what feels right. If I feel drained from schoolwork, and I know that it won’t hurt me if I don’t do [an] assignment right now, I’ll just close the computer and do something else. [I] call my friends or do things I enjoy. And I think that’s definitely important: knowing when you should stop doing your schoolwork. It’s not healthy to constantly do it. The pressure of having to succeed, and do well in school, and get into a good college so that you can have a good life is a lot of stuff to think about all the time. I feel like the success that my parents have and that society expects is a comfortable success. But in other ways, it seems pretty boring and not like something that I want. I don’t want to limit myself to what success is. I want to be able to find my interests and not worry about making enough money. But, it’s also like I have to get this good grade and I have to do really well on this. Or else, it’ll cause a chain reaction, and then I won’t do well like later in life. And that’s so scary.”