That One School | Teen Ink

That One School

November 18, 2019
By Anonymous

There is one place of higher learning I really want to attend but there is only one spot for all of the secondary school senior classes of 2044. I understand that I may not be the brightest in the Canadian States, (previously the US,) but I believe that I can be a great perspective student. ALU, or Abraham Lincoln University, give their one scholarship and one member of the class to the most well-rounded student out there, and ever since 2031, when the program started, my parents have been training me for it.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have forced me into sports, had me do volunteer work, and work with four tutors, one for every core subject, so I can get a perfect score on the CSSTs or the Canadian State Standard Test, a standardized test that encompasses everything from academics to social etiquette. I remember fighting with my parents when they tried to force me to go to manners school and when I arrived, I knew no one, thus making me fairly uncomfortable, but those people ended up being some of my best friends to this day.

For ALU, I made sure to be the most astounding student I could be. Every day, I spend 10 hours a day at school, filling every second with a new activity. The homework load keeps me awake until 3 AM every morning, but I am able to continue the next day with a large dosage of caffeine. Whenever a teacher hands back a grade with the paper face down, I tense up and think immediately what my parents would say if I even got an A-minus. 

On the fields and hills, I perform to my top ability and, to my luck, I have been able-bodied my whole life, with the exception of the occasional broken ankle, but those can be fixed in a matter of minutes. I believe that’s one of the reasons I am at the top of my school. I play sports all year, and I make sure to be loved by all. 

Additionally, I have worked hard to complete community service hours whenever I can, fulling up whatever time is left from my already busy schedule. I try and encompass everything, so I help out at a homeless shelter, as well as with disabled people who cannot function as well as people like me. All in all, I am beginning to crack under the pressure of my diabolical parents.

In the Fall, I am one of the captains of the Cheese Rolling team, the most prestigious sport in our town, where we barrel down a large hill, chasing a circle of cheese. I usually win. In the first semester of senior year, I took classes in calculus, physics, APCSH, music, English, programming, and foreign language. Now, in the second semester, I have to show my worth to ALU. I am on five different robotics teams, the captain of the indoor football team, (one of the hardest and most favorable for ALU), and I am taking organic chemistry among many other courses. If I want to get into the school I was destined for, I knew I had to do something to separate me from everyone else, and I knew my class load would not suffice. 

My friend, David, told me that there was a magical pill that would allow me to run faster, be smarter, and work faster in general and I knew I had to have it. “Dude, c’mon. I absorbed it once and it was game-changing. I have never scored higher on an exam or played harder than I did when I took that,” he told me. “And there are no side effects at all. You feel perfectly fine.” 

“I’m scared though. Won’t it mess with me afterward and won’t I become addicted, constantly needing this enhancement?” I question.

“No worries, dude. I’m fine, aren’t I?” he asked, rhetorically. I became quickly reassured. The only part of the CSSTs I was concerned about was the social etiquette. David did not say anything about that part when he described the potency of this magic.

I borrowed my mom’s teleportation station card, something I cannot legally use until I am 21 years old, and soon enough was where I needed to be for the performance enhancers, without looking back on my misdeed. David eyeMessaged me the address and when I grew close, I noticed a three-hundred-foot line from the house all the way to where I was standing. I peered through the line and saw Kathy, the person ranked second on the leaderboards for ALU. On the leaderboard, Zach, someone from the other side of the CS was first, Kathy, a girl from my school was second, and I was third. I confronted Kathy. “Why are you here? You’re ranked number one for our school.”

“I need to beat out Zach for that position. It’s everything I’ve been trained for since I was born, and if I don’t get it, my parents are going to kill me,” she blurted out.

“Jeez. Is it that serious? My parents are going to be mad but not THAT mad,” I responded.

“My parents only expect the best for me, so I need to get into ALU.  she said, on the verge of tears.

“One pill remaining!” I hear, followed by screams and jeers. I sprint through the street and by the time I got to the front of the line, the shouts increased. I hear, “He’s got the last one! He stole it!” and as I begin to look into the hole-in-the-wall, a middle-aged man in a black hoodie sprints out. Soon thereafter, a mob of people race after him, trying to get the last pill. I join in and hunt this man down. Being the captain of the cheese rolling team, I am extremely fast and I pull forward to the front of the crowd. The robber falls and I see someone snatch the final pill from his pocket. They consume it immediately. All my hopes and dreams of getting into ALU are ruined.

I teleport back home and find my parents waiting in an intervention-like setting. “Where have you been?” they interrogate me.

“I went to a place that sells these pills to make you faster, smarter, and overall, the best applicant for Abraham Lincoln University,” I respond, truthfully. 

“Honey, you can get in if you try your hardest,” my mom assures me. I take a deep breath. In all my 18 years on this planet, I have never heard anything this comforting. Honestly, in the long run, I knew I would regret not giving absolutely everything up for this pill and to get into this school, but I was finally going to be able to live a full life where there is not all this pressure on me. 

Two months later, my parents sit with me in the living room as I submit my scores for the CSSTs, my secondary school transcript, and my social etiquette recommendations to the school. As it works, I received an email 3 minutes later. It read, “Though we have considered it very carefully, we regret to inform you…” I could not read the rest. That was it. Everything I worked for down the drain. Then again, Harvard is a pretty solid second choice. 

The author's comments:

I had to do this for school. Didn't want to, had to.

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