When I was in the fifth grade, my mother told me that if I didn’t get an A in Language Arts, I wouldn’t be able to get into Honors English when I entered Folsom Middle School.

And if I didn’t get into Honors English in sixth grade, there was no way I could make it into the accelerated classes in seventh and eighth grade.

And if I wasn’t in those classes, then I was doomed to be rejected from AP classes in high school.

And without those classes, there was no way I could get into college.

I didn’t want to see my college hopes and dreams fall apart when I was 10! So I studied hard for those spelling tests.

But, alas, spelling has never been my forte, so when I got my report card, next to Language Arts was the dreadful B+.

Tears ensued.

Luckily for me, it was a 90 percent, which was considered an A- at the middle school I was joining.

So I got into all the middle-school accelerated English classes—and the AP English classes in high school.

But here’s what I have to say to all the fifth graders stressing about that spelling test. (No doubt there are plenty of you as gullible as I was…)

Even if you get a B, you will get into college.

It seems silly now, all those things I stressed about, especially at such an early age.

At the time, though, it seemed like world-ending kind of stuff.

Despite that, I have to say that after a point, you just have to accept that that’s the best you can do.

There’s a time and place to stress about college. And that’s in high school!

Honestly, even as a freshman, try not to keep it in the forefront of your mind.

I don’t just mean dreaming of going to Stanford or Harvard. Most of us know we aren’t going there.

I’m talking about college constantly being there in the back of your mind. When you’re trying to decide whether to study an extra hour for that pre-calculus test or go hang out with friends, sometimes it’s okay to go have fun.

Of course, I don’t mean all the time. Probably not even most of the time. But sometimes.

It’s hypocritical of me to say this, I know, since I never chose going out over studying.

But I wish I had some times.

I would still have been fine. I would have still have gotten into a good college.

At some point, we have to accept that we’ve studied enough and given it our best shot. And at that point, it’s okay to stop studying and do something you enjoy.

Going back in time, I would have told my fifth-grade self not to study for those spelling tests. Instead, go out and do something fun!

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