Not Another Success Story This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 7, 2013
The bell rings loudly, signaling the end of lunch. Suddenly, the hallways are humming with ­activity as students head to their next class. Doors slam and voices are heard everywhere. I walk to the top of the staircase where I stand faced with two choices – the left holds a glorious path to foreign cultures and literature, or the right leads to a world of intricate symbols and theory. As much as I wished to go left, my feet turn right, through the second door, Room 246. There, teens are scattered around desks, chatting happily with friends, a few tapping on their smartphones.
The final bell sounds, and suddenly everyone dashes to their desk and the teacher walks to the front. In his hand I notice a stack of papers. He explains that last week's Calculus tests have been graded, and begins to hand them back. Brief memories flit through my mind – the countless hours of scrutinizing the textbook, every problem done more times than I can recall. Every formula memorized, every practice problem solved. Around my desk, I can hear others begin to celebrate as their tests are returned.
“Look! I got an A! And an apple sticker!”
“Wow, my highest score yet!”
“How can anyone fail this test?”
“What did you get? I got a star!”
The joyous exclamations give me hope. I remember test day well. The problems were understandable, the formulas simple, and nothing seemed impossible. The teacher arrives at my desk, handing my exam back, face down. I close my eyes, pray for the best, and quickly flip it over. Dozens of emotions run through my mind. Confusion. Shock. Misery. Depression. Hurt. I purse my lips, careful to keep my expression neutral as I shove the test into my binder.
“Hey! How did you do?” a friend asks, her face lighting up in happiness. I notice the faint outline of a sticker on the first page of her test.
“I did great,” I murmur, plastering a fake smile on my face. I briefly wonder whether she will notice the change in my mood.
Luckily, my friend nods, and turns her attention to the posting of the class grades. There is already a swarm of teens around the sheet. I hear happy words and see bright smiles. I wait a few moments until the crowd thins out. I trudge over, careful to avoid betraying any emotion. There it is. My new grade. Its ugly curves mock me. “You will never get any better! You are a failure! College? What a joke,” it taunts in a sarcastic voice.
I hold back tears as I take my seat. I slowly pull out paper and a pencil as I wait for the day's math lesson to begin.
The ride home is no better. Two of my friends continuously discuss the math test. I try to avoid listening, hoping to contain my tears until I get home. I shove in my earbuds, but my iPod decides to play the most depressing songs in my library. It seems to sense my mood.
When I arrive home, I say a weak good-bye to my friends. As I step toward the garage keypad, the tears began to flow. By the time I turn off the alarm, they are falling faster and faster. When I reach my room, there is no stopping them.
It is a mixture of anger and sorrow. A desire to break something and watch it shatter while sobbing on my carpet. Why can't I succeed? Why am I always a failure? I can't think of a time when I succeeded at anything. The science competition: I failed to place in the top ten, unlike every other member of my team. The PSAT score: even after months of studying, it was nothing but a horrible disappointment and many hours of tears. My favorite English essay of the semester: according to my teacher it apparently had disconnected paragraphs with no central point. The physics test: the easiest test of the semester is yet another miss. The community service club I tried to start: no one came to the meetings. It seems like no teen cares about helping others. The speech competition last month: I didn't make it into the final round.
Why am I such an imbecile? These classes can't be that difficult – everyone else seems fine! I am nothing but a disappointment in life. I need to go to a good college. I need to get a good job. But without spectacular grades or extracurriculars, no college will ­accept me.
Oddly enough, quotes are my inspiration in life. A famous Japanese martial artist, Morihei Ueshiba, once said, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” Time and time again I fail. Stress, tears, and sweat are a continuous cycle. As every test passes by, I run out of chances as my grades fall faster and faster. Sadly, real life doesn't always have happy endings. I constantly wonder to myself, will this failure ever lead to success?

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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bookmouse said...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Congratulations on getting published! I think you're a success story now!
limeturquoise825 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm
Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate your comment, and it made my day. :)
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