Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Image source: Caleb Friesen photography for INpact Collective
She was teacher’s pet.
She was the boss’s puppet.
Do you know her? You must have met her once in your life.
In a classroom, at a conference, at work, in a stadium, on a dating app- she is found everywhere. She is that annoying girl who doesn’t miss classes, always has the most up-to-date information of schedule, is always on time and she takes notes, a lot of notes.
I was one such girl. Was I always like this? or did I become ”goodie-goodie” after an incident? People wanted to know.
As far as I can remember I have always been this person. Not a teacher’s pet, that is never what I thought of my self. I have always been the nervous fidgety & on the edge kind of person. I don’t know if that was visible to people, anxiety is often lonely and invisible. But it impacted my life a great deal. It led to the act of ”always being over prepared”.
The fear of almost everything in the world was the cause of this anxiety. I don’t know why I have this level of anxiety, maybe genetics, will ask my counselor and get back to you. So the fear. It was overwhelming and all consuming. If I was ever 10 mins late to school than my usual time (which was actually 45 mins before the deadline), my heart raced. If I was ever meeting friends and I left my house at 7:02 instead of 7:00, my palms sweat. If I was waiting for a friend to come over and they didn’t reach on 4:45 as promised, my body shivered.
So I had to follow the rules. I had to not cheat. I had to stay quiet in class when asked by the teacher. I had to write my exam papers as fast as my heart raced or I would lose it. I would break down. I would be in tears. And I cannot be in tears in front of people, that just doesn’t happen. Thus, I became the teacher’s pet.
Do I necessarily agree with my superiors even when they are wrong? No. I learnt over time to speak up, to share my views and provide value. But would I miss a deadline – NO. Will that compromise the quality of my work- Yes.
I just couldn’t help it. You either get the work done, show up or suffer the excruciating pangs of anxiety.
On the first day of my Master’s class, our senior was taking us through the course outline, she suggested we create a Whatsapp group. No one said anything. No response. For 2 long seconds. I had to raise my hand. Would it not be awkward for the senior and all of us if we didn’t respond? So I did. From that day onward I became the loud, controlling, over prepared girl of the class. A class filled with cool writers.
Was I ever a cool writer? Hello no! I never smoked or drank or got high on weed. Who is that person? Not a cool writer, that is for sure.
That person is the teacher’s pet.
It remains an unknown fact that anything that puts me out of control of my actions repulses me. Because then I would not be able to do things the way I do and I would be dumbstruck with anxiety. And it remains unknown because no one bothered to ask. It is easier to judge and label people than to ask them questions and try to understand the answers.
Next time you see a competitive, rule following, anxious kid. Maybe ask them what is leading them to these actions. I wish somebody had asked me.