My hand is briefly sore from slamming the snooze button. My eyelids close and the shortest nine minutes of my life flash by as the alarm again demands my attention. I can almost imagine the bliss of simply waking up to the warm sun and birds chirping. Instead it’s that hideous alarm with big, bloody red numbers. No dreaming of excess time with my pillows, there is just enough time to realize that I have to get up. I have responsibilities. It is senior year and I have no time to waste, not even nine minutes.
What is today? My calendar is not even on the right month, what a statement! Though I am running late, I flip through the pictures on my calendar. February: a determined and hungry tiger crouches behind a tree. March: a cute little tiger cub with paws bigger than her head plays in some flowers. April: an adolescent tiger stares right at me with intense, searching eyes.
My mind instantly races to my sign in the Chinese zodiac, the tiger. Those born under this sign are said to be generous, courageous, enthusiastic, passionate and unpredictable. Unpredictable, that seems to be the best word to describe my senior year - it’s been unpredictable, busy and stressful.
I’ve discovered that one needs all the courage and enthusiasm to meet deadlines, get along with and set a good example for my little sister; train and compete in sports; work; fork over money like it grows on trees; study for and take the ACT; apply for college and scholarships; obey your parents, and be in your seat before the 7:55 bell rings. But that’s life, right, being able to
fulfill all your responsibilities and still find happiness in all that you do? Joshua J. Marine explained it best when he said, “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
I never expected this year to be peaches and cream because nothing is ever easy, but no one warned me it would be this difficult. With all my responsibilities, the pressure to succeed builds up quicker than the to-do lists. Luckily, I was raised to be a tiger, a competitor who has grown to welcome a challenge. With the ever-present support of God, my church, friends and family, I have the confidence that I can overcome any obstacles that this life, throws my way.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.