"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis
High school wasn't my fondest setting. Growing up in a public high school of about 1,200 students had its ups and downs. I still vividly remember the hallways, classrooms, and importantly the teachers. I was never the type of student who enjoyed learning in school, it was generally a difficult setting for me to learn and expand on my abilities and talents. From being a fresh to the grindstone freshmen to a seasoned senior, high school was a stretch. Growing up in school, I've always had a few setbacks that were preventing me from expanding my full potential of learning. At school, I was always anxious or worried about taking a test. Struggling with depression, some social anxiety, and self-doubt, I was my own worst enemy. One thing I will never forget in life, are the teachers who never gave up on me when I gave up on myself. From writing English papers to sight reading music, each one of my high school teachers showed me that the world's standards of success don't always have to be mine. I don't need a perfect 4.0 GPA or have the book smarts that others have, I just have to be myself. I will never forget what some of my teachers told me when I set the bar too high to reach. My orchestra and choir teachers showed me that I didn't need to have the perfect pitch or notes; I just needed to try my best, to express creative passion. My English teachers shared that my grammar skills or standardized test don’t defined my identity, I have a story to share and the book is not over yet. My math and science teachers conveyed to me that my lack of problem-solving didn't mean I was never going to figure it all out; life is hard, but I don't have to stress it, I just need to take a few deep breaths every now and then. My history teachers counseled that the pain of my past and the worry of my future are robbing me of the joy I have to share today. Lastly, the campus staff and yearbook team showed me that even just one person can impact the world and that the best life experiences are worth capturing to reflect on.
When I didn't attend school for about two months during my junior year of high school, many doubted me, my friends, my family, my teachers; I even doubted myself. Also, when I finally decided to attempt to make an effort to pass all of my classes, the process was brutal. Stacks upon stacks of papers, projects, and test to catch up on, plus the current work all required to pass the semester had to be done within two months left. I still remember the agonizing distress I put upon myself. Five straight days with no sleep, no food, all to catch up on school work, as well as attending class with nothing to run on but faith and hope. It was a miserable experience, everyone counseled me to just relax, just fail this semester, and then start again next semester so I don't have to stress this much. Everyone who loved me told me how worried they were to see me physically and mentally killing myself with deadweight stress, how it wasn't worth it to attempt to graduate on time with my classmates, how better it would be for me to take a break. I'll admit, I'm stubborn and when I have a drive to do something, I will do it no matter what anybody else says or thinks. That's exactly what I did, I didn't give up, I pushed myself and worked at a double pace to catch up to my best ability with my school work to graduate on time. Long story short, my grades with all my school work and test work in weren't the best, but I did it. I passed; I surprised everybody, even myself. On graduation day, I still remember the roaring applause my teachers, family, and friends gave when my name was called to receive my diploma. Tears of joy were shed. I never gave up because God never gave up on me, my teachers never gave up on me; even when I gave up on myself, I still managed to get up and move forward.
To the teachers in my life who have listened, counseled, and loved me at my best and worst: thank you for not giving up on your students. To the high school student who feels all is hopeless: my advice to you is that it's never too late to turn your life around and make an effort to change, to grow to the person you were made to be.