“Congratulations,” they said,

not realizing that your grades

and your GPA

and your class rank

won’t protect you from lying awake in the middle of the night

knowing he was right;

no one will notice if you’re there or not

and no one will care.

There’s nothing that can protect you from the knowledge that

no one cares about you

until you impress them.

No one loves you

until you give them a reason to be proud of you first.