The Emotional Rollercoaster

The ups-and-downs from semester one.

Tae Sam Lee
Dec 7, 2015 · 3 min read

For the entire semester, I had been on a non-stop emotional roller coaster. I felt lost, depressed, anxious, excited, hopeful, and relieved. This emotional ride started after reading Excellent Sheep; I had finally found a purpose for my life. Therefore, when I started the semester, I was overflowed with excitement and eagerness to strive.

However, my competitive side interposed with my behavior and attitude. I wanted to be the absolute best in the IA class. I wanted to come up with the “winning” idea for a startup. When I failed to do so, I became a shark just to feel better about myself. Once I had the reputation of being a shark, I embraced that persona.

But then everything went downhill when I started to doubt myself. Once again, I started questioning my purpose in life, which influenced me to question myself. After a lot of introspection, I noticed that I wasn’t a genuine person. At first, I was in denial of being self-centered; I was afraid to fail. What if being a designer didn’t work out? What if I wasn’t good enough? These questions made me anxious about my value, which led to my meltdown in class.

I left school for a week, and even though this didn’t show persistence, I was able to come to terms with myself and come back strong with a mindset of excellence. When I came back to class, I apologized for my behavior and presented myself as a freelancer. At that time, I wanted to help my peers because I thought I owed it to them. But, the intent was not coming from an authentic place; I just wanted to look less of a shark.

Only after realizing that my positive behavior was creating a better environment in class and at home, I truly started to question how giving value to others affected me. I understood that I was not adding value to the entire class. Adding value doesn’t mean doing my peers work, it means to push their capabilities and help them be self-aware. So I became a Big Z — it was my way of finding redemption.

I learned how to be more confident about my attitude by appreciating the help I gave others; I focused on improving my peers more than myself. But, then this obsession with making others great triggered another problem. I started to micromanage everyone because I saw myself in the work they produced.

Eventually, I understood that micromanaging was unhealthy, so I quit this behavior and started to build trust with my peers. I allowed my peers to fail when necessary, and picked them up when things got notably inadequate. I changed my approach from helping and doing things for others to motivating others. I wanted to trigger their intrinsic motivation for creating excellent work. I noticed that I might have spent too much time motivating people. But as I look back, I don’t regret doing so because it helped me get over myself and put others in front of me. My intentions for helping others was coming from a good place and that made me happy.

On one of my previous blogs, I said that I wanted to remember my senior year as the year that I got over myself. As I look back at my statement, I have noticed that the goal might have been to great. I have not gotten over myself yet. However, I am aware of it, and I am doing everything I can to fix this problem. After all, life is a rollercoaster, and it has its ups-and-downs. All I have to do is learn to embrace the successes and make the best out of the bumps in life.

Tae Sam Lee

Written by

I am an Innovation Academy student at the international school Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade