Thursday, June 10, 2010

Changed My Life

by AK

It all started off on a chilly bittersweet morning. That's right, the first day of school that I really didn't want to be a part of. Dragging myself, I made it to Claremont Middle School; a dull school of fish. It's not that I hated school, it's just that school was the same old routine. Sixth grade was a chocolate ice cream cone, but by the time I got to seventh grade it melted into a moppy puddle.

Every class appeared so long and all the exhausting work seemed so pointless. To spend endless hours at my wooden cage just made me angry. We spent all day working on a lesson until we understood it, just to do worksheets on it. As if that's not enough, we then take similar worksheets home for our homework, and prepare ourselves for the upcoming test on said lesson. Why?! Why should we waste so much paper? Can't you just skip all the worksheets and tell me specific details of what kind of math is going to help me in life without chopping down all of mankind's trees? Then we discuss it, you give me an A+, and we all go home happy. That and other angry thoughts cooked in my head, giving me a hot, slow-cooked idea as I stared at the bulletin board that never seemed to make any sense.
The moment of truth sank down on me one Friday afternoon. I was negatively etching my initials into my desk, as my math teacher floated around the class like a cloud. Why the heck was he so happy to pass out quizzes? He did it EVERY day! So I decided to give him a piece of my mind/ share my slow-cooked idea. I waited until he gave me my quiz, then said it. I said a foul word in an appalling sentence that would probably make my grandma flip in her grave a couple of times. {I wouldn't dare repeat it on paper.} The whole classroom roared with laughter, while my teacher gave me a shameful, outraged look. He then immediately sent me to the office with a referral to go home.

I happily grabbed my backpack and walked out of that classroom with a look of triumph. I did it! I let all that anger out. I skipped down that hallway, running my fingers against each locker with a smile from ear to ear. Feeling as if I lifted a boulder off my back, feeling as if I were Jay-Z at the Music Awards. Without a care in the world, I strolled into the office about 30 minutes later, and then my eyes locked onto the furious face of my father.

All those happy feelings: gone. All that's left was a stupid look on my face, completely dumbfounded. His eyes were bugged out, nostrils flared, but he remained silent. We then walked to the car (well, I followed him, terrified) and headed home as I waited for "it.” I was flabbergasted; at sea; lost for words. I just sat there staring at the dashboard, waiting for the immortal silence to end. My dad chose not to relieve me. Instead, he ran a red light and entered the freeway (not the way home). He started driving like a lopsided puppy, jumping lane to lane at 80 mph. That's when "it" started.

“Who do you think you are to talk like that? Is school a game? Did I raise you to speak that way? Huh? Answer me!” The car's speed, his yelling, my brain rushing, it all just spun me around and around.
Then, everything stopped. My dad took a deep breath as he pulled over and began to tell me about himself. How he dropped out to work and support his family, and how he missed his one chance. School is an opportunity, and he missed his chance at it. An education is a priceless value that I shouldn't have taken for granted. His words made perfect sense. If you really think on it, school is a privilege, not an obligation. Then I told him how stupid and hard school was getting, and he spoke an eye-opening phrase.

"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain."

My view of school and life changed at that exact second. School is not stupid, and I shouldn't look at anything like that. Many teens and kids worldwide don't have school as a option in their lives. I was selfish and I let my parents and teachers down. I apologized to my teacher on Monday and quickly started setting goals for my life. My first is to finish school and be as successful as my father. School is a gateway to adulthood; so I accept it and soak in all the knowledge I can. I hope every other student at Claremont does, too.

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