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"Your proudest accomplishment"

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It was a cool July afternoon as I raced down the steep slope of my driveway, my bare feet collecting tiny, loose asphalt rocks. I reached tentatively into the paint-faded mailbox and grasped the manila envelope. I decided to open it like a Band-Aid, to rip it and get it over with quickly and as painlessly as possible. Relief flooded through my body as I let out a whoop of pure joy as my eyes scanned over the carefully printed scores. I sprinted to the house where I proudly shoved the results in my mother’s face. I had earned a three on my AP English test, a score I so desperately needed.

You see, test-taking has always been my struggle. At a young age I have what my mother likes to call “Severe Test Anxiety.” In the middle of an exam, I second-guess most of my answers even the ones I know are correct. All of my teachers tell me the statistics for leaving the first answer, but I always forget their words and bubble in a different option.

The test anxiety reach a pinnacle last spring when my mom decided to give me an ultimatum: Get a three on my AP English test, or she wouldn’t pay for me to major in Communications and Journalism. In hindsight, it sounded a little overbearing, but at the time my heart nearly stopped. What I loved most was learning new styles of writing, analyzing poetry, and creating new pieces that showed off my own style. How could an English lover like me feel nervous about this test? However, one fact was still the same; I dreaded testing.

When I told my AP English teacher of my dilemma she immediately started working with me and showing me how I could respond to the time constraints on test day. She’d give me practice tests and time me to see how long it would take me to complete certain sections. She would then show me where to focus my efforts. When test day came around, my teacher cheered all her students on before they closed the doors. She gave us all personal letters, my own said, “Have a blast doing what you love-writing! Let this be a celebration of your talent.”

On that brisk July afternoon, I held more than just a score in my hands, I held pride and accomplishment. I had managed to work through something that had plagued me my entire life. This test challenged me to do what I feared most, prove myself. It was the most important test I had faced in my life, and if I could overcome that, I could overcome other challenges in life as well.



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