Pressure This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I was excited when I arrived there. I had been preparing for it for months. I was competing at a national level. It was my week in Washington, D.C. It was the National Spelling Bee.

The studying that got me there was more than I'll ever know. I had spent hours and days getting ready. The many words I studied were part of me. They were my life. Now, realizing all the time I spent building up for this, I was sad it couldn't last longer. It was the breaking point. People from all over the nation were there competing with me. We were all in it together. Knowing that, many friendships developed and I met many wonderful people.

On the day the actual competition began, I was very nervous and I felt nauseous. I knew I was in front of a large audience and that I would be on national television. Even though I competed last year, it was still scary. The two and a half hours I waited for my first word seemed unbearable. Luckily, I knew my first word and passed with flying colors. Hours later, when many had been knocked out by an assortment of words, I was ready to spell my second word. This round was the beginning of the random picks from the dictionary. I held my breath and waited. I received a word I didn't know. I thought it was the end. With clear thinking, I actually spelled it right.

Only two rounds had passed when the day ended. The third round began the next day. I was so tense I actually did get sick. It was so nerve-wracking, and the pressure built the closer it came for my turn. Then I got it: my losing word. I heard the "ding of doom" and realized I was out. I had misspelled the world "labile," spelling it "labial." As I slowly walked offstage, everything flashed before me. I pictured all the months of studying and I felt like a loser. Then I realized something. As I was mourning with all the other "losers," I finally knew that I hadn't lost anything. I had gained something. My studying and effort couldn't be matched. My parents' and sister's proud faces were unforgettable. The obstacles I had overcome and the goals I had achieved will stay with me for my whole life. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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