When I was in middle school, I honestly did not care much about my grades. Now don't freak out, I was never getting C's, D's, and F's, but I definitely could have put in a little more effort into some of the classes I was in. At the end of the day, I was 12 and it was middle school, what was there to care about?

The summer going into 8th grade, I vividly remember my mom saying these exact words to me; "You better get your act together because high school is not going to be easy." Now, my mom is relatively laid-back and she doesn't scare me that often, but after she said this to me, I realized I needed to do something about my work ethic.

8th grade came around and I already improved my study habits a lot. They weren't perfect and there was room for further improvement, but it was much better. I saw myself becoming better at subjects I thought I was "bad at" but in reality just wasn't studying hard enough for. For example, in sixth and seventh grade, I always thought I was bad at math and used it as an excuse when I was only doing average in the class. When 8th grade came around and I was putting more effort into the work, it all started clicking and I realized I was actually really good at math.

The real transformation came my freshman year. I signed up for all regular class because my high school had a reputation for hard rigor with honors classes. I was only going to get myself into something I thought I could handle, and wow I was wrong. High school hit me like a truck. There was a lot more homework, studying, reading, and writing. The classes I was in were not a walk in the park, just like my mom warned me. I was doing better than I was in middle school but there were some classes that I could be doing much better in. It was a constant conversation with my mom where she would tell me there were certain grades I should get up. I told her I would but there was still a lazier side of me that wanted to slack off and wait until the last minute.

One day I went on my parent's infinite campus (a website where our high school posts our grades) to check my grades. I looked, and they were fine. They also could have been better. I then decided to look at my brother's grades just for fun. I then saw that he was getting all A's in all honors and AP classes. I went back to my grades and saw I was getting decent grades in all regular classes. When I saw this I knew I could be doing better. I could be studying harder, caring more, and putting in the extra effort. I realized it was time for me to really change my actions.

Ever since that day of checking my brother's grades, the academic side of me took a complete 180. I religiously use my planner to keep all of my work organized. I do all of my homework efficiently and the day it is assigned to keep myself on track. I take my classes very seriously and push myself to perform to the best of my abilities. I never wait until the last minute anymore and I study weeks ahead of time for big midterms that have a lot of information. I realized that I actually like to learn and work hard at something. Although this comes with putting a lot of pressure and stress on myself, it makes me work harder to reach my goals.

Middle school was not my prime when it came to academics but I don't regret having the work ethic I did in middle school because if it weren't for that, who knows if I would be the motivated person I am today. Life is about the mistakes we make to teach us how to improve. I am definitely not perfect, but I am proud of myself every day for changing my ways when it comes to doing my work, studying, and more. I know that the study habits I have adapted will stick with me for the rest of my life.