by Alyssa Cohen
Mia Mercurio is currently a senior at North Attleboro High School. She hopes to study elementary education and theater when she starts college in the fall of 2017.
“When I started high school I had an overwhelming desire to be the best at everything I did. I had always been a hard worker and a high achiever, but I constantly felt unfulfilled because I had never been number one. I was a straight-A student, but I was not in the top ten. I was a decent tennis player, however I had not made varsity. Whenever I was in a play I earned a speaking part but never a leading role. I had a supportive family and plenty of friends, yet I still yearned to be loved by everyone I met. Everything in my life was good, but never great and in my mind, good was simply inadequate.
“However, my junior year, I read a line from the novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green that made me reevaluate my perfectionism. While reading the book, I frequently identified with the character Hazel Grace, so when she was described as ‘not loved widely, but deeply,’ it resonated with me. These words made me realize that life is not about being the best at everything you do and being loved by everyone you meet. Life is about investing in the relationships and activities you are passionate about for that is the only way to love deeply.
“Ever since I changed my philosophy on life I’ve been much happier. I continue to do well in school and play hard at tennis, however when I lose a match or get a B on a test I no longer beat myself up over it. At theater I performed every part, no matter how small, with a smile on my face and eventually I earned a leading role. Most importantly, I stopped concerning myself with whether or not everyone liked me and started appreciating those who already love me. As far as where life may take me next I have no idea. Maybe one day I truly will be the best at whatever I do, but honestly it would not matter. As long as I continue to love deeply, I don’t care if I’m the first or the thousandth best.”