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Feeling Left Out
For a simple student like me, education should be the last thing I need to be complaining about. There are other teenagers who struggle with situations that are worth looking into, but the days I spend in my schools will affect my future and the outcome of society. It is all about the quote, “every man for himself”. Selfish, I know, but that is the tragic message throughout society; We all need to fight and work hard for the best ending. Many people dealt with different situation to make it to the top. Let me tell you what I went through in school and how it made me become who I am.
I finish writing the last letter of my sentence, “The cat said meow.” I put my pencil down, cross my fingers, and stare at the giant handwriting that took up only half the height of the lined handwriting paper. I was not sure if the uppercase letters were supposed to touch the very top line and the lowercase letters only reach the midline, but my big letters only reached to the midline and the smaller ones reached half of that. I look around my table to to find the other students following the guidelines and writing their letters that reach the very top of the line. Somewhat panicking, I pick up my pink eraser and begin rubbing away the couple letters of “cat”. Right as I start to erase the last letter of the word, I hear my teacher gasp.
“Christine, you have such nice handwriting,” Ms. Elliot astonishingly says over my shoulders. She grabs my paper and shows her co-teacher, Mrs. Billings. I watch them discuss, but I also see a couple students looking at me with confusion.
“Christine, you get an A and a prize!” Ms. Elliot exclaims. She gestures me towards a purple box that looked like a big tub where I put old clothes in. She opens the lid which reveals treasure; there was a variety of toys. I look at the prizes with wide eyes and look around to see all the students in the classroom as they stare at me with confusion, anger, and envy.
I was shy, but I felt proud. I walk up to the box to find my prize. There were goodies that ranged from stickers to stuffed animals, but what stuck out to me was a butterscotch colored bear with a red bow around its neck. I picked it out and was satisfied with my choice.
“Hey, my name is Alex,” a small boy with slightly tanned skin, pale blue eyes, metal rimmed glasses, and spiky hair says to introduce himself. Over the first couple weeks of school, I have met many people but made a few friends. Every afternoon, I notice these friends and a couple others leave the classroom to a supposed bus , but they come back before the day ends. I remember Alex as one of the few. They probably go to a place where the bad people go, but Alex does not seem like a bad person. Oh well, it is probably not important.
“Christine, what did you guys do yesterday after I left?” Connor, another student who leaves in the afternoon with a handful of other kids, asks in a boyish but high pitched voice. I was about to reply, but my teacher interrupted me.
“Ok, the GT kids, you have to leave! Your bus is here, it is time!” She announces. The same kids quickly pack their stuff and walk out the door.
“What is GT?” I ask Connor as he puts away his notebooks.
“Gifted and Talented,” he states. “We go to another school everyday to do special activities,” he replies with a smile.
“Why? You are missing school,” I point out. Connor shrugs and turns to leave. I watch as him and Alex leave out the door together.
As usual since first grade, I watch my friends leave the classroom at the same time. I am really confused why they get to leave the classroom. This year, they leave only on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of everyday.
I notice my teacher walking near my desk, so I ask her, “Why do they leave class?”
She turns to my attention with a confused look but replies, “They are part of a group that helps them practice more subjects than we do at this school.”
“Why?” I ask again, “Why am I not part of the program?” I look up at her.
“Well, they are really smart students who were able to become part of the program. They were tested and made it in,” Ms. Snale answers with a smile; She seems proud. Disappointed, I just look down at my desk with the simple counting blocks and a worksheet.
“Christine, Ms. Hollins needs you in the hallway,” My teacher, Ms. Marvin, informs. I look at the door to find an older lady with curly white hair, small glasses, and pale skin peeking through the window. I get up from my chair and exit the class.
“Hello, Christine. My name is Ms. Hollins. I am here today to give you this packet of activities to complete. Your parents called our office saying you were interested in the Gifted and Talented program; that is wonderful! We will schedule a test date for you to see if you are eligible,” She excitedly spills all these words and hands me a packet, but I am very shocked.
It took me a couple months to juggle the special activities and regular school work, but I finally finished, and I took the test yesterday. I wonder how I did, and if I am able to leave class with all my friends.
I still stayed in my regular classes.
“Christine!” I hear my name hollered from across the hexagon hall. I turn to find my friend, Alex, waving at me from his classroom that is directly across from mine. I smile but it drops when I see my other friends enter his class. There were other unfamiliar students walking in too; probably from the other schools. Either way, my friends are all there but me.
“That is the GT class. All the smart students are placed there. I hear they have lots of fun in that class. They do not write vocabulary projects like we do but they have colorful origami work, “ I hear someone quietly sighs next to me. I turn to a girl who holds her book tightly to her chest. She angrily stares at Alex’s classroom.
“Oh,” was all I said. I look at my own class that is filled with rowdy students. They loudly chat, run around the room, and messily place all their belongings in their cubbies. All my friends are away from me.
“I have not talked to you in awhile, Christine,” Connor says as we walk to Gym together. Since he is part of the stupid GT program, we have different lives in schools that prevent us from interacting with each other.
“Yeah, I know,” was all I could say. We silently walk to the gym hallway. I watch each step that my sneaker covered feet were taking and stare angrily at the dotted floors. Connor just has to remind me of how stupid I am.
I enter my GT life science class. I think I am in GT now, right? My schedule says GT so I must be in the program! As the students enter the classroom, I walk up to the short teacher.
I ask, “Is this the GT program?” the teacher has to look up at me because of her height.
“It is a GT class but not exactly the GT program,” she informs; well that ruins my mood. Before I turn to my desk, I see someone that I did not expect to see in my class.
“Alex!” I exclaim. He turns to gives me a toothy smile; this raised my mood again. I watch him go to a desk, but I see the students around him. They were the supposed students that everyone thought who were “geniuses”; now, I am worried.
I enter my GT English class. I am stress over the number of brilliant students in my other classes and the amount of homework I have on the first day. I mentally groan.
“Why do we have so much homework already?’ I complain to the kids at my table.
“You are in a GT class, so you should not be complaining. If you can not handle it, then leave,” a tall boy says harshly and points to the door. The other two students at this table just stared at me. I kept my mouth shut after that.
All my classes are GT. Alex is not part of this school anymore since he moved at the end of last year. He says this school is really bad compared to his new school; I cannot disagree. Many of my elementary friends are gone. We lost contact, so I do not know what they are doing at the moment. This year, I did not struggle as much in my classes. They all went by with a breeze, and I hardly had any troubles with the smart students. They moved to another program called Integrated Math and Science (IMS) which is like GT but higher. For once, I am content with not being in that program. Compared to them, I am not good enough to belong there. I belong where the average students are which is somewhat okay with me.
High school is the time when everything matters to colleges, at least that is what every adult is telling me. I was thrown all this information about big tests, grades, and career choices; intimidated might be a great word to describe my mind. To prevent the risk of failing, I took honors classes for every core class except English. I had a feeling that English was a weak subject for me, so I did not want to risk the failure.
Entering my class, I took a good look at the students. I already knew this class was going to be the worst because these were not the type of students I was used to. I knew the faces of people who worked hard, smart, and disciplined, but these students sitting in this classroom are the complete opposite.
“Hi, I will be your English nine teacher. My name is Ms. Twix,” introduced a red-headed teacher. She looks friendly, so I knew I was going to enjoy her as my teacher.
“Like the candy bar? We all know you are not a good treat,” said a student in the back. Everyone laughed but I rolled my eyes. This year is going to be a long year.
This was the hardest year of all my years of education. I am taking all the honors classes and one college class. So far, they slam me with work and projects on the first day of school, but that is only from half of my entire schedule. First week in, my grades are suffering. A couple months down the road, my GPA is falling and my stress levels are above the charts. I thought Junior year is supposed to be the toughest year, but I think Sophomore year beats the title. I have to compete with my peers if I want to get into a nice university, so I have to keep up with anything and everything that has to do with school. I notice my friends who gave up already. They do not try as hard anymore, slack behind homework assignments, only show to school once a week, and could care less about their grades. I understand though, but why is this year a tragic?
Presently, this school year is scarily okay. I feel relaxed and content. I know I have to worry about keeping up my grades, the SAT, and college applications, but I am not too worried about it. I think I have the requirements in the bag, but the SAT is still worrying me. A few of my friends are trying a bit harder in school but not as hard as they should be. Throughout high school, I am learning more about myself than I am learning school. I notice my likes and dislikes, my hobbies, career choice, and friendships; I actually feel happy, but it is too early in the year to judge quickly. Everything could change in the next quarter and my life could become hell; I will be prepared though, mentally at least. Although at ease, I am still quite sensitive toward the subject of my future. Talking about what I will do after high school sheds a tear here and there. A teacher tells me that I am stressing too much over my future, but I think I am thinking too little about it. Maybe I feel relaxed, but the stress is still lurking inside of me.