When I was in 5th grade, I got my first C ever in writing, which was a subject I struggled with. I don’t remember how it happened. I don’t count it as a huge thing for me. I don’t know why, but I could never really tie any significance to it. I remember feeling really upset about it. I don’t think I have had a report card without a C since, which I guess never really seemed to bother me. I used to be a star student. It’s not like I lost motivation or stopped caring, things just were never the same. Everything changed for the worse. Every year since then my life has seemed to get progressively worse and worse in every way possible.
That’s the version of the story I tell myself...and only myself because I don’t tell this to anyone until now. Maybe if I did it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize what actually happened. Here’s the real story: I got my first C in 5th grade. It happened to be in writing because I struggled to write that piece and turned it in late. I saw it coming, but when I saw it in black-and-green I think it did something to me. It was very devastating and discouraging. I haven’t had a report card without one since and that’s extremely embarrassing for me to admit. I used to be a star student. I became careless and had less drive to be that star student. I had a lot going on internally and externally and was excused in many ways because of that. I think I really got comfortable with hiding behind them, because facing the actual problem would have been really hard to do. Because of this, the school aspect of my life has suffered incredulously and that in turn negatively impacted all the other aspects of my life.
I guess, you could say I began to give up on getting back to a place where I was satisfied with my academic standing because it seemed unachievable, and still does. It’s not until something motivates me that I start to gain momentum and get back on my feet pursuing school work and activities. I fall into the same slump over and over and over; it’s a vicious cycle that I can’t seem to free myself of. The cycle usually goes like this: I get an assignment, something substantial like an essay checkpoint. I spend a few minutes trying to come up with an idea of what I’m gonna do (I’m usually unsuccessful in my endeavors). I tell myself I’ll get around to it later and then for whatever reason, I don’t and it’s not until a few days after it’s due that the pressure sets in and I’m able to finish the assignment. I usually work well under pressure, but my problem is that pressure sets in too late. I have become comfortable, in a sense, with underperforming. When I started high school I recognized that I was entering a world different than the one I was accustomed to in grade school. I set expectations pretty high for myself in a sense. I told myself I got this because confidence is key and I knew that if I went in feeling like I would fail I would. At the same time, I recognized that it wouldn’t all be smooth sailing and that things would get hard at times when it came to school; that I would turn in a handful of assignments late and even get the occasional bad grade. The only thing that mattered was that I would bounce back and get back on track.
Freshman year was a lot harder than I was prepared for it to be. It started off just as great as I thought it would be. My first assignment was in English 1. I had to write a 350-word essay on how my past shaped who I was at the time, which is nothing compared to the 1200 word essay I’m writing now, but back then it seemed like a lot. However, because I was so determined to take high school head on, I didn’t even flinch. That night, I finished it in under an hour and turned it in the next day, no problem. I didn’t have to think about it, I just did it and I was proud of my work. Looking back that might have been the best and most confident I’ve felt in my entire high school experience. As time went on, it got a harder to stay on top of things-and it showed. My grades went from looking the best they had since 5th grade to looking worse than they ever had before in a matter of months. Still, I told myself it was an adjustment period and I was having trouble adjusting. I had plenty of time to grow and make up for it. It’s only my freshman year...but sophomore year didn’t prove to be any better either…
I decided that junior year was going to different. I wasn’t going to mess up because I couldn’t afford to. I had one last chance to fix all the damage I had done in the past 2 years and I was determined to be successful. Everything was going to be perfect...and it was...for a month. Then piece by piece it all fell apart, again. I had a lot of things contribute to that. I kept using surface solutions, like completing an assignment or two, but that didn’t stop the work from piling up. I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem and so I fell behind over and over and over again. I play it back in my mind and can see everything slowly unravel, piece by piece dropping like the petals on the wilting rose from Beauty and the Beast. Like it was nothing, the delicate, magical flower my motivation was, wasted away to nothing more than a stem. I couldn’t see that that was the problem, though, which made it hard to it solve it.
I was determined to hold on to and maintain the results of my hard work, but they still suffered a little bit. However, I managed to end the quarter with grades I haven’t seen since my freshman year, which was a little comforting. That comfort was short lived, though, as my grades began to drop like flies again. This was for more than one reason, but one of them was that I got lazy and I’m paying for it as I write this essay, up to my neck in overdue assignments. Only, difference is I am here, admitting out loud that my lack honesty with myself is a problem that I need to acknowledge and work on. Hopefully, now that I’ve done that, I can
move past it and learn how I can break this cycle. I realize there are times where I’ll back into old habits, but I will have to figure out a way to overcome it, which is gonna be easier now that I can see what the problem is. I can now learn and grow from this and it’ll only help me prepare to get through the problems I will come into contact with.
Admittance is the first step. I was taught from an early age that it is very important that I take responsibility for my decisions and actions. Learning that lesson took longer.
At first, it was easy. All I had to do is tell mommy that I broke the vase accidentally. However, as I got older, the stakes got higher and honesty got more complicated for a lot of other reasons. Sometimes it’s hard to face the truth, especially when it reveals the parts of myself I’m least proud of and intent on keeping under wraps. I found that I even lied to myself… and that can get dangerous, though, because, if I believe it, it can influence the way I see a situation. That snowballed into a mess of things that could have been avoided if I had just been honest with myself.