I Needed A Kick

There was a time in my life where I was my own worst enemy. For whatever reason, I had fallen into a pattern of apathy and self-destruction, and I let all my dreams of going to college slowly begin to slip away. I had originally planned to go away to college immediately after high school, pursue journalism, and be well on my way to a career. However, somewhere in my senior year of high school, I stopped caring.


I remember one of my high school teachers noticing that my grades had been slipping in his class. He had heard good things about me from other teachers and knew from other examinations that I was a good student, so it was clear that this behavior was out of the ordinary. He approached me after class in a way a friend would, asking me about my plans for college. I told him I was no longer interested in going.


He knew as well as I did that I still wanted to go, but that my confidence was getting the best of me. I was afraid of applying to schools because I did not think I would get in, so I thought that my grades in high school no longer mattered. He was polite, but firm, when he told me that I needed to become organized if I still wanted to follow my dream. Deep down, he knew that I did still want to, and I think he wanted me to as well.


The message did not register with me right away. I did a pathetic job on my next homework assignment, and he definitely noticed. Instead of marking off a set number of points for each question I got wrong, he gave me a big red "F." I had never gotten an F on anything before in my life, and this was certainly a reality check. I asked him after class that day why he graded my paper incorrectly. He told me that if I did not care about my grades, he should not care about teaching me.


It was at this point that I realized I was better than my behavior. The fact that getting a failing grade on a homework assignment shook me up so much was proof of this. To prove to my teacher that I was indeed recommitted to my future, I made sure not to get another question wrong on another homework assignment. Slowly, my grades started to rise again, and the feeling I got from my heightened GPA was definitely a rewarding one.


It gradually started to sink in what I had known all along--my teacher was not picking on me, he was trying to nourish my potential. He did not want my self-esteem to ruin my goals and my future, so he targeted my weakness in order to make me feel the same way. Later in the year, he assisted me in applying to several colleges. I graduated in the top ten of my class, and got into every school to which I applied.


If no one had ever given me this attitude adjustment, who knows where I would be. I probably would have given up and never applied to any school. Instead, I am now applying to graduate schools in order to further my education like I have wanted to all along. This is simply a reminder to anyone who loses their sense of self for a bit to remain self-aware. All it takes is one little lapse in judgment to affect a person's entire future.