The girl across the table from me had drawn a line on the wrong side of her garment. Her friend, next to her (and roommate in the dorm) attempted to explain to her what was wrong with it in a kind way. I could see the girl immediately shut down as the instructions were making no sense to her. "I don't get it," she said simply. The tone of frustration was prevalent.
"Hey, you've almost got it!" I interject, trying to give her a little confidence. The dynamic between these two students is interesting. It seems to me that student A feels like she will never be as "good" as student B. So I'm sure when B gives her instruction can be a little frustrating emotionally for her. In another class, I recall A saying something along the lines of "never put my work next to her's! It makes mine look so bad."
We've all been there. We've all felt like our best will never quite match up to this other person or in general. I think as you navigate through your mid to late 20s you realize, hey, there is ALWAYS someone better so all you should focus on is YOUR best. And honestly, what does it matter if someone sews better than you? Maybe your designs are better and someday she'll end up working for you. Maybe it's not about drawing skills, but about the idea and emotion of your piece. Maybe it's about starting somewhere and moving upwards, and in that case it doesn't matter where you start.
One thing I feel confident knowing and feel it necessary to remind some of my younger students is that we are Here To Learn. If you already knew it all you wouldn't be in school.
I try to explain the issue in another way to A and she remains quiet, flipping her sample over and staring at it. "Maybe you should ask the professor." I suggest. B agrees, "Yeah, maybe she can explain it better than we can."
A just looks down at her fabric, defeated. Silent. I exchange a glance with B and we let her alone to her frustrations.
I have learned through the years that you cannot be afraid to ask for help. This particular teacher seems to intimidate some of the younger students, but I love her. She is clear and concise. I think my advantage is that I see her as more of a peer than some of the other students so I am not afraid of her. It's crazy what a 10-15 year difference will make when you are young. As you get older, it doesn't seem to matter as much. And as a woman especially, it can be hard to say "oh hey, I don't get it." But once you can and do, you'll learn so much more!
In the end Student A ended up figuring it out on her own and moved along to the next part. I am curious if she would do better on her own rather than always comparing herself to student B. I hope she gets there.