7/30/12 “Six, seven”. That’s what I would say about twice a day when asked how tall I was. I’ve always been tall so over time I had gotten used to and annoyed of this question and I would usually make these feelings evident in the tone of my response. However, it wasn’t the only response I was used to giving. “I don’t have it”. That’s what I would say about twice a day when asked where my homework was. ”C”. That’s what I would say when my friends asked me how I did on the big test. I repeated the same answers over and over again but never really thought about them.
Over the past year I began to question these responses and came to the conclusion that they were the wrong answers. I wasn’t lying about my height or my homework, or my grades or my studying habits, but ever since I started to think about these questions I’ve been able to change the answers. I haven’t gotten any shorter or more intelligent but by actually thinking about the question I’ve been able to give the correct answer. I started to realize that I was being asked the same questions over and over around sixth grade.
I wasn’t even thinking about high school back then let alone college and beyond so I still had some time to figure out the right answers to these questions. “Wow do you play basketball? ” Teachers would ask as they saw me struggle to fit through the doorway. “Uhh yeah” I would flatly reply. “Why didn’t you study, you knew you had a test”. “I don’t know,” I wasn’t even thinking about what those words meant but it was still just the practice round for the real thing so I still had time to find the right answers.
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I was explicitly warned when high school rolled around that “it counts now”. It was spelled out to me multiple times that high school was the real deal and even my Freshman grades would count towards college. I was also told that I wasn’t done growing yet and I would only be getting taller. I wasn’t thrilled about either of these facts, but instead of using my height to my advantage or taking school seriously I continued to wander through my life getting increasingly tired of the questions I was being asked. Do you even want to go to this school? ” “Yeah, yeah of course” I would jadedly reply, solely to humor the asker. “How great is it to be that tall? ” “ Yeah its pretty great, ha-ha” I would say politely, but emptily none the less. As my high school career continued and the college clock kept ticking I failed time and time again to find the right answers to these questions. Around the middle of my junior year the college process had begun and I had decided to go visit a college over March vacation.
As I got out of the car I immediately fell in love with the school, the campus was perfect and the students looked like they were straight out of a brochure. All the school’s features were amazing and while on the tour I began to grow increasingly excited about the school and the idea of college. As the tour came to a conclusion all the prospective students gathered in a room to hear a lecture about the application process from an admissions officer. As I stood amongst the other students I realized that I was the tallest one there.
I was used to being to the tallest person at a given place but this was different. I realized that because of my height, I stood out, but in a good way; all the admissions officers and faculty noticed me before the other kids there. I saw my height for what it really was: and untapped advantage I had been given. I realized that when people were asking me how tall I was, it was because they were astounded, almost impressed at my height. As I happily chewed on this realization, I was slapped across the face by a second epiphany.
As the speaker went more into the application process, he began to talk about the school’s average GPA for high school students; my GPA wasn’t even remotely close to this average. “They just boost those numbers up for the presentation” I lied to myself “I’m sure everyone else here is just as shocked by those averages” I looked around and literally every other student nodded in agreeing upon hearing the numbers. My separation from the group continued as the other students began to ask questions like “Are 3 honors courses enough or are you looking for more in an applicant? and “I only have a 3. 5 GPA but I take six courses, is that taken into consideration? ” I started to feel something I had never felt before, an impending sense of doom that came over me like a tidal wave as I started to mentally panic that I wasn’t going to end up here, that I had thrown away a golden opportunity that was given to me. The feeling was sharp and it stung. I felt sick to my stomach on the ride home as I wallowed over the idea of not ending up at college at all. As I continued to think this over at home I came to the onclusion that this could be a good thing, I should take this realization and use it to turn my grades around with the little time I had left. I thought about the questions I had always been asked and realized that the answers I grew accustomed to giving were not in fact the right ones. I remembered hearing an old proverb that now seemed to be directly speaking to me: “No matter how far you have traveled down the wrong road, turn back. ” Turn Back. That night I decided to turn back, even though I had traveled so far down the wrong road.
When I came back to school after the vacation I felt stronger than ever, I was so ready to attack school. The second day I was ready to hear those oh so familiar words: “Where is your homework? ” It was a small homework assignment and the teacher undoubtedly expected me to have blown it off. “Right here” I proudly retorted to the impressed teacher. Later that day a man at the gas station asked me if I was a basketball player. Again, I proudly said that I was and made a friendly joke about having a tough time with it because I’m so short.
As the semester went on I continued to walk towards the right path, correctly answering life’s questions. Every night as soon as I got home I would sit down and complete every homework assignment with consciousness and pride as opposed to half-heartedly completing three or four out of five assignments. With the new found knowledge that people naturally notice and look up to me, I am setting a good example around the campus for others to follow, from cleaning up trash in the student center to starting a new club. A began to find myself on the right road, even though I was a little late.
My hard schoolwork paid off when my grades landed me on the honor role for the first time. I also decided to put my size to good use by playing football in the fall of my senior year. With all this being said, I am the first one to admit that I was the definition of a late bloomer academically. Having already experienced low academic performance I can honestly say that I want to excel through college and beyond, not just with grades, but in all aspects of life. In the end the answers are what count, not the questions, and I’m ready to answer any question life gives me, correctly.
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