He strikes a punch perfectly centered on my chest. I had fallen and for a moment I felt paralyzed. I was fighting to breathe. That person was Angelo, my friend, or at least I thought he was. As I look up frightened and confused at his dark face, he paused and kicked me down to the ground. For the first time in my life, I had tasted the cement floor. And as I am trying to catch my breath, I hear Angelo call one of his friends, and he sat on me. My chest was about to blow. I wanted to run. But lifting my body off the ground was like lifting a two-tone elephant off my back. At that point, I had lost it, there was nothing I could do; and before I could react Angelo stepped on my ha-Ah!
Angelo and his friends vanished as soon as the bell rang, and I had just gone through the longest most painful five minutes of my life. My only friend, in this new school, in this new country, made me feel alone in this world. I became disconnected and ashamed to ask for help. The constant sense of restlessness made it difficult to concentrate in class. I no longer felt safe at school and in desperate need of companionship, which made me lose my motivation to learn. One day, I got out into my backyard seeking for fresh air and noticed a strange sound coming from behind the fencing walls. So, I climbed a few meters up a pine tree and saw a lovely park where kids were running around, and in the distance, I saw for the first time in my life a treehouse so gorgeous and so charming.
My spirit lifted and my heart was restored I was at peace with the world up on that tree. It became my goal as an eleven-year-old to build a tree house. Curious, I picked up a book from the library on building and designing homes. I took several weeks to understand but discovered that maths and science was a big part of engineering a house. Unfortunately, my grades never improved. And one day, my teacher approaches me, and says, “Juliano, I will have to make you repeat your grade if you fail in one more of my classes.” I was in shock. I reach out for help from a tutor and got rid of any distractions. Day after day, I stayed up late at night studying, was the first and last to leave the class, tried my best to avoid Angelo and his friends in school, sometimes staying in the bathroom until the break was over.
And kept climbing the same tree and admiring the same house; however, that book never told me how to build a treehouse. But, thanks to my tutor I learned, that when tackling a science or maths problem you must not reason on what other people have done, which was a simpler way of saying don’tfollow the status quo. My self-confidence increased, and my perspective on learning had changed. I had understood the value of time. So, every morning, I mapped out an action plan, to achieve a set of short-term goals, whether it was hammering and sawing planks of wood or reading a number of pages. Eventually, I built my TreeHouse, succeeded academically, and passed my grade. But I enjoyed the process far more than the end goal. I became self disciplined, committed to responsibility, determined, and developed a hunger to succeed. I won’t accept the world as the way I see it. I am going to leave a mark and create solutions to the issues that I see.