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“There is only one Stephen Hawking, one Albert Einstein, and one Isaac Newton. You will never be the president, and you will never go to the moon, because you are average,” my mother stated as my brothers and I sat around our kitchen table, “but at least you aren’t below average.” She held my report card in one hand and my brothers’ in the other because it would be catastrophic if they touched.
“I can do whatever I want,” I stated matter of factly turning to begin a one sided staring contest with her. How dare she think that I could be anything close to average.
“I hope you prove me wrong,” she responded leaving the table. I was furious and highly motivated. I made honor roll in school, but without any effort my brothers always did better.
I was always under the radar. I didn’t cause problems. I came to class and I did the classwork. I was invisible and forgotten because I didn’t act out or demand attention, so my teacher often overlooked my being there. School was a jungle of prepubescent children who lacked the maturity that I developed in fourth grade. Walking through the halls packed like sardines, I witnessed many children trying to find themselves. Boys threatening to fight one another and kids making dinosaur noises crowded the already tight hallways while the girls wore so much makeup it looked like it could only be removed with a potato peeler. I wanted no part in it.
I stood out amongst my friends like a barbie doll in a heavy metal concert. They looked like halloween decorations, and took enough drugs to intoxicate a stadium full of people. I never could fit in with them, because I possess a drive for achievement that they’ll never discover. I needed to ditch these freaks if I wanted to be above average.
I decided to make a fresh start for myself Sophomore year. I walked through the halls lost and confused, as most any new kid would, and eventually found my classes. There was a difference in my outlook on school. Before days seemed to drag on and felt like years. Now, I felt I could find my way through that massive school and be successful. I came to class, sat in the front row, and made friends who have since proved to be worth my time. Getting to know my teachers on a more personal level allowed me to realize how to play the game most people call education.
I took harder classes to out do other people and show that I can do better. I did well, but one class irritated me half to death. Every day I would walk out of that door dazed with an ever growing headache that never seemed to dim. Part of the problem was that I was convinced although the woman knew Chemistry well enough to teach us, she couldn’t pronounce simple words. “Go to the back of the room and get your plastic baegs,” Ms. Lord would tell us at least twice a week. The other kids laughed hysterically whenever she said “baeg” and I’ll admit it was funny, but boy did it irritate me. I thought teachers would have to know proper english to teach. Who would have guessed that after that class I would choose to major in Biochemistry.
School went by faster than expected and I found myself panicked at the end of every term making the rounds to all my teachers checking grades. One teacher I became fond of definitely had her share of life adventures that showed themselves by the way she talked and interacted with us. This kind, graying and explorative woman exposed me to the art lifestyle. I would walk into Ms. Fotu’s class every day and come out a little bit different every time. She taught me I could be whoever I wanted as long as I liked who I had become. I eventually took an extra six classes from her and felt inspired to have adventures of my own because of her example. Although she only taught art, I learned more life lessons and things I can actually use or apply to my life than I have in any other class. She supported me in a way I have never had a teacher do before. To this day I am grateful for her taking the time to recognize I was actually in class and not allow me to be overlooked.
I walked out of that school at the end of my first year as proud as a peacock. I had gotten my very first perfect GPA. Rushing home to compare with my brothers I looked over sneakily at their report cards. 3.8, 3.7, 3.7, then mine, 4.0. You cannot do better than a 4.0 and no one could do better than me. The day went by and dinner came. Finally, I would be able to show her and everyone else what I had done. I took my report card to my mother once dinner concluded and watched her face intently.
“I knew you could do it!” She exclaimed as her face beamed with pride.
My mother always knew exactly how to talk to me to motivate me to succeed. Because I was given a challenge, I was given the opportunity to get scholarships and have no doors in life left unopened to me. I can do anything I want to do, and I owe everything I have worked for and accomplished to my mother.I am getting a degree in Biochemistry and I am going to medical school because I am not average. Because someone took the time to tell me in the only way that would motivate me, I could do better and had more potential than I had previously shown.
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