Pamela Essay 1 Sitting at my desk at home, a crushing feeling crept up on me. I didn’t know what to think. I’m not going to make it, am I. It was already midway through junior year of high school, and having just calculated my GPA requirements for many of the colleges I had wanted to go to, I realized that my grades were not even close to what I expected them to be. I guess I had been in denial for so long that I let them slip this far. How could I have let this happen? Where was my mind when I needed to study and do homework?
Why did so many stupid things like watching T. V. or going out with friends or just mindlessly waste my time on the internet? I felt an awful combination of disappointment, anger, panic, and frustration. There was no way to fix this in my mind. My future college acceptance letters seemed bleak. What should I do next? After setting up an appointment to see my new college counselor a week later, the worst had not been eradicated, in fact, it was more real than it ever was, and there seemed to be no way of getting out of it.
Growing up with my Asian heritage, and living in an Asian dominated community didn’t make things easier either. It is a well-known stereotype that people of Asian culture are notorious for our insane study habits, cutthroat competitiveness, and strict values of academic achievements. If you don’t make it to one of the top 50 schools in the U. S. , people begin to look down on you. That being said, everyone at school appeared to be so much smarter, better, and more competitive than me. When my mom found out about my poor grades, I can still remember the look on her face.
It’s not a memory I like to remember. She looked so sad and angry with me that all I wanted to do was apologize over and over again and wish that I could disappear. I became paranoid and thought all my friends and everyone from school were judging me and thought things like: “She’s so stupid. ” “I can’t believe she messed up so badly. ” “Getting good grades isn’t even hard, how did she do so poorly? ” I felt like a failure. Dreams of UCSD, UCSB, University of San Diego, all slipped away.
It felt like I was trying to catch smoke, cup water in my hands; the more desperately I tried to hold on, the quicker it dripped away before my eyes. The humiliating realization that my grades were awful gave me a fierce and somewhat unreasonable determination to work as hard as I could for the rest of my time in high school, but a big part of me thought that it wouldn’t accomplish anything. To get into a UC school, sophomore and junior year grades are the most important, and I had already passed the point of saving my grades anymore.
Everything felt so hopeless, I thought I had to accept the fact that I would be going to a low-ranked college, face the judgment of my friends and family, and make some major changes to the future I had so carefully crafted. However, the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that it shouldn’t matter if I wasn’t getting into the top schools of my choice, that comparing myself to others really doesn’t help my situation more or less, and that other people’s judgment didn’t matter regardless if they thought I was smart or stupid, only mine did.
I shouldn’t be whining or complaining or feel sorry for myself because this was my fault, my careless mistake. I should work hard no matter what circumstances I was in, try to finish strong and start becoming the person that I wanted to be, that I admired because at that point, I was my own worst enemy. I had been lazy and careless up to this point. With all these new thoughts and ideas, I set out to change the mistakes I made. I worked so much harder. I began to pay attention in class, studied my notes everyday instead of cramming the night before the test, participated in class, did my extra credit, and gave it my all.
Soon, people began to notice. My friends said I looked and acted stronger, more driven. My teachers said they noticed my improvement, saying things such as: “I’ve noticed the change in effort you’ve been putting in my class, I’m very impressed. ” “You’re test grades have gotten higher, keep up the good work! ” These observations from my teachers and peers satisfied me, but what truly made everything worth it were my grades. In every class I took, my grades shot up at least 10 percent from the previous semester.
I actually learned things in my classes instead of carelessly writing down notes to spit all the information out on a test before I would quickly and surely forget it. For once, I was actually happy with my schoolwork. Things were finally working out how I planned it to be. I felt accomplishment that my hard work finally paid off, but I still kept in mind that my original goals were still far from reach. Nevertheless, I was happy about all the things I had changed and improved in the short amount of time I had left.
When I first realized my grades were below my expectations and that I wouldn’t be able to go to the school of my dreams, I was devastated, but at the end, after I worked hard and got the grades I wanted, I was okay with it. I truly accepted it because it doesn’t matter which school you go to, what title or rank you hold, because I finally understood that titles don’t measure intelligence or self-worth. It sounds so cliche, but its true; if anyone really wants to do something, puts their mind to it, and tries their absolute best, success will follow.
I got proof after acceptance letters finally began to roll in at the end of senior year. It was so nerve racking to painstakingly open each e-mail, each letter sent to my house, in fear of rejection and bitter disappointment. Every time I opened up a new letter, my pulse would shoot up, my hands would start shaking, and I would start to hyperventilate. Almost every time, I would breathe a sigh of relief and add another acceptance letter into my desk drawer. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of good schools I got into, and it further solidified my new attitude about how hard work really does pay off.
Panic and frustration slowly transformed into confidence and a sense of pride. Looking back on my journey, I have learned to be more self-disciplined, determined, humble, and accepting of my mistakes. The things you do to mess up your past don’t matter as long as you learn from it, and apply it to your future. Maybe I was a little too hard on myself, but never mind that, because I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I decided to come to U. C. R. and I plan on working hard, never give up, and try my best here to succeed for my future. I’m happy.