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I jog to the nurses’ office with urgency. White and orange walls blur as my vision becomes fuzzy. I swing the door open and say “Pine pollen,” before I collapse on the floor. I am almost unaware of my surroundings and I feel a slight pinch in my arm.
I awake to yelps of pain. I turn to see my friend, Kate, with a gash along her shin. “HowlongwasIout?” I ask, my voice slurred.
“Umm… say 20 to 30 minuets,” Mrs. Jackson, our nurse replies.
“May I go?” I ask.
“Be careful, okay?”
“Okay,” I say half way out the door.
Role call starts as Kate and I arrive in the gym. “Kate, Caroline, what will you be doing today?” Coach Martinez asks. Alan struts into the room.
“Let’s do archery,” I say quickly, “also, Kate what happened to your leg?”
“Well my leg got cut open because someone-“she shoots a glare at Alan, “-dropped a pair of scissors and cut my leg,” Kate finishes.
The archery tournament was in a couple of weeks, so I went
“Kate!” I scream. Where is she? She should be next to the goal. “LET GO OF ME YOU JERKS!!!” I know you’re allowed to hold an archer from getting arrows but this was insane. “KATE! You people really need to let go of me,” I see Alan emerge from the water.
“That was a fail,” I say as we walk to class.
“NO, Kate, that totally wasn’t a fail. We scored like horribly,” I say. She really can state the obvious sometimes. “What do you want to do?” I ask since we have a free period. She remains silent. “Earth to Kate?” I say.
“What?” she says like she was in a trance.
“Are you really that tired from the match?” I ask as her face falls and jerks up.
At around five o’clock, my mom calls me for dinner. I walk out of my sea blue room and trudge up the stairs. I’m really not that hungry but we eat as a family and that was the house rule. I get upstairs and pick at my food. I’ve usually devoured it by now. As soon as I’m excused I race down the stairs and flop on my purple polka dot bed. I felt like ice so I turn on my grey space heater. My thermometer read at 40o F. I hate winter. I shiver and fling a blanket around me. I lie down and fall asleep.
I awake to my phone ringing off my table stand. Literally, it vibrated off the table. I really don’t know who would be calling this early in the morning. I look at my clock. It read 7:34. I go into panic mode. I am going to be so late for school. Then I remember its Saturday. I pick up my phone and answer. “Hello?”
“Hey sleepyhead, want to come over?” Kate says in the most annoying cheery voice ever.
“I can’t I have to study for science club and math club. I’d be able to if I had no math but I do,” I say.
“Your mom making you?” she asks.
“Well call me when you start science. I’ll be over.”
“Okay, bye.” I hang up and pull out all of the sheets for math. It takes me four hours and counting for me to finish my ten math sheets. I got some lunch and started science; it only took one hour to finish that.
I walk into school on Monday, exhausted. Alan sees me and jogs over. “Do you want to come over this weekend?” he asks.
“I would love to, but I have too much math and science,” I reply.
“Oh… then maybe tomorrow afternoon?” he asks. I laugh.
“Sure, I’d love to.” I walk to English and I basically fall asleep standing up.
When I get home, I finish my homework, change into my swim suit, grab my bag, and hop in the car to get to practice.
I dive into the cool blue water. It engulfs me as I slowly make my way to the surface but I can’t get there. I see letters dropping from the surface. I wake with a start. Were those my grades dropping? Well they are in real life. I hop out of bed and look at my unfinished math home work. I sit at my desk and finish it. I hop up, shove my math in my backpack and get dressed. I jog up the steps and check the time. It reads 7:48 AM. The bus arrives in seven minuets. I hurry and brush my hair. I run into the kitchen and grab a freshly baked biscuit and some sausage. I sprint out the door just barely making the bus. I sit down next to Kate to eat my breakfast. If only it was a Saturday.
After school I walk to math club dreading what is going to come next. “All right class, we need to get down to business,” Mrs. Jones says. If I had this time for homework it would be a miracle, but NO. My MOM wants me to do math club. Why? Who knows? I don't want to, though.
I get home around 8:30 p.m. from swim practice. I have absolutely no time to do any homework. I will get up early to do my homework. I hit the bed and immediately fall asleep.
“CAROLINE!!!” my mom screams from downstairs.
“What?” I ask rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
“We need to have a serious talk,” she fumes, “why are your math grades so low?”
“Well considering all the after school activities I’m doing, I have no time to do it,” I reply.
“Well, drop out of one,” she suggests.
“Okay,” I consider this a moment. I can’t bail on Kate in science club, and I can’t stop swimming because of regionals. “I’ll drop out of math,” I say.
“No, Caroline, you can’t,” mom says.
“Why?” I ask.
“Well I told you to go, so you’re going to go,” she replies.
I run to catch the bus. I tell Kate the whole conversation. “Go quit. It will bring your grades back up,” Kate says.
During math class, I go to Mrs. Jones. “I need to quit math club,” I say, “my grades are dropping, and I need more time for homework.”
“I understand. Do what you need to do,” she says.
After school I jog home and quickly do my homework. I grab my bike and ride to swim practice. I feel exhausted and then I remember there is regionals swim meet this weekend. I hop in the pool excitedly and swim my butt off. There was nothing standing in my way from good grades and an athletic life now.
On Friday, I race out of school as soon as the bell rings with Kate on my heels. “Hey, Alan! Are you coming?” I shout as I run across the green field.
“Yes! Why wouldn’t I?” he yells back. We all hop into Mrs. Brand’s car and talk the whole way to the pool.
Coach Martinez waits for us on the sidewalk next to the building that the pool is in. we all hop out, with our swim stuff and sprint to the locker rooms to change. We make warm ups as soon as they start. We do our usual four hundred swim, four hundred IM kick to drill by twenty five, and six one hundred IM transitions. My first event is the one hundred butterfly, my favorite event. I dive in the cool blue water, feeling a rush of adrenalin. I sprint until I can’t any longer. I finish with the winning touch at the wall. Kate and Alan do very well. We all make it to junior nationals in at least four events. We are all excited. I realized that having the pressure to do math competitions and perform well was stressing me too much to let loose and enjoy the feeling of freedom like I can when I swim.
The archery tournament is two weeks away, so I train until that very weekend. I get 3 bull’s-eyes and 2 nine point shots. I place second in my age group.
I started using folders and checklists to make sure that my homework gets finished and in the right spot. After I started this action, a few months later my grades started going up because I was more efficient. Other problems relating to these grades began to go away. My mom is very proud of me now that I am a straight a student.