Sing until you have no voice

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Miranda, 19, Canada.

" I don’t deny that nature in her wisdom has bestowed intelligence unevenly upon us all. The only person you need to be in competition with is yourself - and on that note remember to set goals that are realistic for you, not your next door neighbor. Each one of you has worth as a human being with integrity and no one can take that away from you. Each one of you has academic abilities and no one can take that away from you. So go on and begin to fly on your own and to heck with what others think. Tough thing to do I know - so conditioned have we become to what those around us. At the moment I wonder if I will ever stop doing that. It seems hopeless – breaking that thread between my sense of self-worth as a human being and my performance for whomever – parents, colleagues, friends, the world out there. As for our perception of the expectations of others, often we read into those expectations far more than is really there and this causes all sorts of anxiety and stress. I hope you learn that lesson well before I did."