Find your own lane: your OP will not define your life

WHEN my OP results were released, I should have been proud of the mark I got.

Instead of celebrating I was annoyed at myself for not doing better, for not getting an OP1.

Of course I pretended I was happy, because it was still a good mark and I didn't want to appear ungrateful, but I believed it wasn't 'good enough'.

None of that pressure came from my parents, who were always happy as long as I tried.

I was my own worst critic with a fierce perfectionist streak I'm just managing to tame at 24.

It's taken me seven years to see I'm worth more than my OP.

That mark is all you hear about in Year 12: it's the reason you're spending hours revising, the reason you pay attention in class, the reason you forgo socialising in favour of study.

OP or ATAR, the system is irrelevant. My message is the same: You're worth more than a number.

Apart from the fact that no one in the 'real world' even cares about what OP you got, that mark doesn't define your future.

A number can't recognise how much you've grown, your kindness or compassion, your humour, dreams and ambition.

It's a snapshot in time and hopefully in a few years, you'll have grown and changed so much you'll barely recognise the person you were in high school.

This system sets us up in comparison with our peers, but the most important lesson I continue to learn as an adult is that comparison really is the thief of joy.

I saw this on Instagram the other day: "She silently stepped out of the race she never wanted to be in, found her own lane and proceeded to win".

Find your lanes, because your new life has just begun.