Setbacks and Rebuilding | Teen Ink

Setbacks and Rebuilding

January 22, 2018
By ColinSweeney SILVER, Oakland, California
ColinSweeney SILVER, Oakland, California
9 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I am a middle-school student in Oakland, CA. I’m in the accelerated math class but if I or any other student gets a B- or lower, we get kicked out of the class and demoted to the normal class. It hasn’t happened yet to anyone in my class, but you don’t really want to be the first person to get demoted, so there’s a lot of pressure to do well. At the beginning of the year, I had an A- in the class. Soon, I started to get a bit lazy with my work and sort of underestimate the difficulty of the class. I missed a few assignments, then bombed a quiz, and my grade dropped to a C. I had a conference with my teacher and she told me to dedicate myself to putting more effort into homework, because consistent effort helps with your quizzes and tests. So, I showed lots of effort, studied more, and sure enough, I raised my grade to a B+. Because I stayed positive and didn’t feel sorry for myself or get depressed, I learned to rebuild my grade. I think that this same approach can be applied to any setback.


3,000 homes were burned down and 25 people died in the Oakland fire of 1991. This year, in the North Bay, there was a huge fire that destroyed 250,000 acres of land and many thousands of homes and businesses. The victims of this fire can learn a lot from the people who rebuilt from the Oakland fire; they rebuilt by staying positive, keeping calm and doing things that brought them comfort. The San Jose Mercury News recently asked victims of the Oakland fire to comment on their experiences. “On the first day after the fire that decimated her Hiller Highlands home in Oakland, Sue Piper bought a waffle iron and popcorn maker for her kids, which ended up comforting the whole family.” Buying a waffle iron was a good thing to do for everybody because they had just experienced a major trauma. In general, kids need the most comfort and attention because they may have thought something like this was impossible. Making waffles and popcorn are comforting activities. The food is fun to make and fun to eat. Also, these are treats to kids because they might not get them all the time. And maybe, survivors should watch some NBA basketball, because, much like the survivors of the fire, the Golden State Warriors have a great perspective on rebuilding.


While losing your home is far more devastating than losing a basketball game, victims of the North Bay fires can learn from the Golden State Warriors 2016 NBA Finals loss. That year the Warriors were leading the Cavaliers 3-1, before losing 3 straight games. After the loss, Warriors star point guard, Stephen Curry, told reporters how he started the rebuilding process. "We had a great night as a family, everybody that came to the game with me, we went back to the house. It wasn't as lively as a celebration get-together would have been, but it was still a moment to appreciate all the good things that have happened along the way, on and off the court, and keeping that perspective.” It is very important to gather because it helps people take their minds off their loss and comforts them. Having perspective means thinking about the good things (family, friends, etc.) they have, not the bad things. This helps them know that they can still rebuild. Keeping things in perspective, Steph also said, “This game means a lot to us as players and to the fans and anybody that has a vested interested in the game, but at the end of the day, there's still life and you can still win at life knowing we didn't get a championship this year." The team is like your family. If you still have your family and friends, you can still rebuild. Steph had finished the season with a heartbreaking loss, but just like Steph, victims of the fire can rebuild.


My experience is not nearly as bad as losing a home or a family member, but they are all examples of setbacks from which you need to rebuild. I learned that it’s important to stay calm, treat depression, and be positive. Gathering with others who experienced the same loss helps people reconnect and comforts them. Just like Steph says, it is helpful to gather, remember that your family is your home, and everything else you can rebuild.

The author's comments:

I felt sorry for the victims of the recent fires in the Northern California. I reflected on times when I had setbacks and expressed the ways I was able to rebuild. 

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