About this sample
About this sample
2 pages /
2 pages /
When I was a small boy, I took a test. The test was the G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education) entrance exam, and I was certain I would get in. As this is an essay about failure, it would be a reasonable assumption that I failed this very test, but, as luck, and, I suppose you could argue, my gifts and my talent, would have it, I passed; I was admitted into “Pull Out G.A.T.E.”
It was fantastic. Once a day I was spirited away from my classroom to another classroom, one with all the other gifted and talented students, where we would build legos and solve puzzles, and put on our thinking caps that we constructed previously during the year, which were actually just wearable skittles dispensers. I had so much fun, I wanted to do it full time! I even passed that test, too!
Ya. They were not the same thing. Full time was hard. Like, really, really hard. Like, “I’m in highschool, and to this day I still cannot perform many of the mathematical operations I was asked to perform in the third grade,” hard. Granted, the mathematical operations in question were things like “Addition,” “Subtraction,” “Multiplication,” but, hey, check my career trajectory; I’m not trying to be that guy from A Beautiful Mind, I just wanna be a litigator. I can talk just fine, but math is not my strong suit.
Which brings us to my first big failure: a math test. At this point in time I was still a small boy and my parents had not yet divorced, and were actually pretty prime parents, so, they naturally were keeping up with my academic progress, and might be upset. They’d want me to “study more” which was something I “really didn’t want to do,” so, I devised a solution. While I’m not proud of my solution, I am proud of the can-do spirit I had in devising it: I would forge my father’s signature. Now, my father is no calligrapher, but, I was smart enough to know that my bad handwriting--for a third grader--wouldn't cut it. So, I convinced my grandfather, who has the same name as my father (thank god), to help me with my penmanship (which was so bad, by the way--I can’t stress this enough) by demonstrating “how to sign your name on the line with your eyes closed”--I know it was weak, but I was very young and foolish and he was very old and somewhat confused so it worked out.
Of course, I was no fool; this was only short term, I needed to improve my grades and I’d be damned if I had to spend one less second playing Legend of Zelda, because of “studying.” So I started sitting next to Henry, who was, “good at math.”
Now obviously this wasn’t a sustainable strategy either, especially when later, after I had cheated my way into BASIS--at the time, the top ranked school in the nation--I developed a conscience and stopped cheating. This is, most likely, why, to this day, I cannot properly perform complex math like “adding,” but I learned my lesson: I’m not as clever as I think I am. And, though attending this university is extremely important to me, I’ll not cheat you into accepting me. In fact, whilst taking my SAT, I was sat beside an old friend from BASIS, Craig. He got a 2300; I did not, and I’m proud of that. I may not be a genius, but I’m still smart--I did well above average. After deciding not to cheat at BASIS, I found, much to my surprise, that I continued to pass my classes, though I had to work harder. Though this presented me with a whole other host of problems that I’m still contending with to this day like “getting B’s and C’s in AP classes while I could be getting Honors credit in standard classes,” I don’t mind, because I’d always prefer to sit next to the Craigs and Henrys of the world, even if I’m not cheating off of them. By surrounding myself with really smart kids my whole life I became smarter myself, and even though that feels like some sort of life-hack, I’ve been told it’s completely legitimate.
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