The scariest thing I've ever done in my life is force myself down the steps towards my first day of high school. At the time, I was a previously homeschooled, lanky, nervous wreck. The only people I had socialized with for the past two years were my family, my three friends from my weekly homeschool meetings, and my pets. Basically, all of the freshmen had gone to middle school together and already had their cliques formed.
Already knowing this, I didn't even want to go in. But somehow I was able to push myself into homeroom. I thought that this day would be the worst thing I had to go through my first year but truthfully, it was all the work I had to put in for the rest of the year. Everyone else considered freshman year "exceptionally easy," while I was horrified by all of the hard work. Not only was I dealing with this, but I also was a little too immersed in my social life and what would come of it.
As much as I hate to admit it, I spent more time planning what I was going to wear or who had Snapchatted me than studying for the test I had next week. It was all fun and games at first but before I knew it, my grades were plummeting. At one point, near the middle of the year, I had grades below 50's in three out of six of my classes. I went into panic mode because I only had the other half of the semester to get my grades up. Thankfully, I did not fail any of my classes. I finished with mainly C's and a few B's and my parents were not pleased. I remember leaving the last day of freshman year with a determination to prioritize my education the following year.
Despite my efforts to work harder, things didn't improve much my sophomore year of high school. Yes my grades were a little better and I managed to focus in my classes, but at the end of the day, I wasn't willing to put in any time towards my homework. I was really starting to build a social life and be part of different friend groups and I didn't want to lose that.
Things really didn't improve until junior year. This was the year that I had to get serious because these grades would impact what colleges I got into and how successful I was going to be in the future. It was super difficult for me to even get B's but luckily, I was able to do so. Once I began doing better, so many opportunities opened up for me. I got accepted into a summer internship program at the local hospital and I discovered I had a great passion for learning Spanish. I ended up becoming a TA (teacher's assistant) for a Spanish II class and winning the overall Spanish intern award for Asheville High. As hard as it was to meet deadlines and study hard, it started paying off in so many ways and I am thankful that I put forward the effort.
Senior year I was all in the academics. The previous summer, after my internship, I finally realized what I could accomplish by working hard. I was taking several advanced placement courses, was in a nursing program to earn my Certified Nurse's Assitant (CNA), and maintained great relationships with all of my teachers. The work was very strenuous and sometimes I would have up to five hours of homework in one night, but I knew that all of it would pay off for my future in the end. I received the great feeling of getting accepted into all of the colleges I applied to and got to go to my first choice: UNC Charlotte.
I graduated with all A's, my CNA, and with fluency in Spanish. I am now enrolled in the university and on track for a nursing degree. If anyone had told me that this was possible in my freshman year, when I was making bad grades and struggling with focusing, I would have never believed them. But here I am, working towards accomplishing my goal of working in the medical field.
Obviously, the transition from a C to A student was not easy. It took me a span of four years to become successful and start doing what I love, but the strenuous growth and development were worth it. The most valuable thing I learned from this experience was that it is necessary to work hard in order to achieve something great, but the opportunities and experiences that open up when doing this are worth it and lead towards future success.