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College Advice #5: Knowing Your Strengths vs. Your Weaknesses

Nobody is good at everything. Wise philosopher Hannah Montana said it best back in 2006: nobody's perfect. Everybody has their downfall, whether it be a course of study or a personality trait or characteristic. We're all imperfect in all the best ways. Sorry to go all uncool cliche mom on you all, but it's true. We have our strengths and our weaknesses and it's best to learn how to work them to your advantage!

Remember, it's okay to not be the best at something. 

I struggled with this so hard in high school. Sometime in your schooling, whether it's early on or later in your academic career, you'll learn that you have your better subjects. There's always going to be one area you're more successful in or grasp more or are more passionate about. Then, there's going to be classes that you can't grasp or have little to no interest in. For me, that was math.

Math and I have been longtime enemies, but we truly discovered our rivalry sometime sophomore year during Algebra II & Trigonometry. I shudder at the memories. I used to drive myself crazy trying to commit this stuff to memory and I just couldn't get it. Math was always my least favorite subject, yet I found myself dedicating the most amount of time to it in order to try to make it a strength. Sometimes, or rather most of the time, that's just not going to happen. I just wasn't good at math, plain and simple. No amount of time dedicated to it was going to change that.

It didn't matter whether or not I excelled at math. I got my high school requirements out of the way after junior year and found a course in college that required basic math skills. I didn't have to stress my weakness in order to get done what I wanted. I stopped driving myself crazy over not being the best and in the end, it seems to have worked out.

Put your all into your strengths rather than your weaknesses. 

After that "I suck at math" revelation, I was able to spend so much more time on subjects that mattered more to me, like English and History. I took creative writing and mystery literature classes instead of math (and got college credit, booyah!), utilizing my skills in those area. I'm not saying you should completely give up all hope and stop trying all together, but try to cater to your strengths in life rather than dwelling on the fact that you can't do something or aren't the best at it. Dwelling digs you into a deep, dark hole that you won't want to emerge from. Success is not gaged by whether or not you can do everything. If you have a skill or craft that you excel in, use it to your advantage! Market that skill! Develop it more! You never know what can come of it.

You can always try to better yourself. 

Giving up entirely on your weaknesses doesn't have to happen. Just because I am awful at math doesn't mean I didn't still try to get A's in my classes. I still studied and asked questions during class. I just didn't drive myself to the brink of insanity because I couldn't figure out limits in pre-calc. There's absolutely nothing wrong with trying to better yourself and try to work out the kinks in your weaknesses. Even if your weakness isn't a skill, but perhaps a characteristic. If your weakness is being shy, take those twenty seconds of courage and speak up. It's easier said than done, but you should never give up on yourself. You're a work in progress, not a completed project. There's always room to grow and develop.

Think about what you're good at and what you might not be. What do you think is your greatest strength?


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