I am a 16-year-old girl who just finished her sophomore year in high school. Today, class ranks and GPAs were updated (the school year ended on June 4th or 5th, if I remember correctly). Freshman year, I was number 21 in my class; I am now number 56. I'm heartbroken (I'm sobbing as I type this now) and I just need to know that I can recover from this. I've always felt pressure to do well academically; my sister is a high achiever and currently attends Stanford, and I'm constantly comparing myself to her even though I know that our interests and talents are vastly different. She says that it will all work out, that I have two more years in high school and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. But were you in my position, wouldn't you be? To add insult to injury, all my friends have advanced significantly. I'm the only one who has fallen flat on her face, it seems. I know that I should be happy for them, but it hurts so badly to know that, according a number on a page, they are all more intelligent and more capable than I am. I know I'm not stupid. I don't believe anyone is stupid. So why does school always make me feel like I may just as well give up? Anyway, I guess all that I'm asking for is a little reassurance. Thanks for taking the time to answer.
I know how hard it is not to compare yourself to other people, especially as a high school student with an extremely high-achieving older sibling. At this stage in your life, it's easy to feel like your grades, test scores, and college acceptances are the only things that define your value as a person (I've definitely been there myself).
As you get older, you'll start to realize that your performance in high school has much less to do with your ultimate success and happiness than you might think right now. Many people who are mediocre students in high school go on to become extremely capable adults. Everyone develops at different paces, and it sometimes take a while to figure out your special niche in life. This is probably small consolation at a time when you feel so discouraged, but I have found it to be true in my experience.
I think the best way to get past these feelings in the moment is to focus on a talent or passion of yours outside of school that gives you a sense of your own unique identity. If you're interested in any creative pursuits like music or art or other activities like running or learning about a specific weird subject that fascinates you, try jumping into those. Also, think about what you might want to study in college so you can set appropriate goals for yourself that aren't based on other people's standards. Good luck, and as your sister said, try not to be so hard on yourself!