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Overcoming a Personal Challange in Difficult Times

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    I was in 7th grade when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was very sudden and unexpected for our family and obviously I was devastated. I tried my best to balance my first year of middle school and my home life, even if I knew this was impossible. I dreaded coming home from school every day for fear of what I would see when I got home. I hated seeing my mom sick all the time; she was not herself and all I wanted was for her to stop treatment and get better. Luckily, I had lots of support from my family, friends, and teachers during this hard time to help get me through it.

    At the beginning of the year, I was determined to stay on track with my homework and studying and get through my first year at middle school successfully. Slowly, I started to become more distracted while at home with taking care of my mom, cleaning the house and helping my grandma cook our meals. While I was at school, I could escape and put my mom’s sickness in the back of my mind while I hung out with my friends and enjoyed playing. I noticed that my quiz and test grades were increasingly getting worse, but I never brought this to the attention of my mom because I did not want to worry her. Eventually, all of my grades were lower than C’s.

    I knew that I was not doing well at school, and I needed to get my grades back up. I knew that a lot of my teachers were cutting me some slack because they knew what was happening at home. My English teacher was the most supportive teacher that I have ever had and I am so glad that I was in her class that year. One day my teacher had me stay after school to have a talk with her. As I stepped up to her huge wooden desk, I could feel myself getting more and more nervous by the second. I knew I had nothing to fear, though I had never seen my English teacher mad. As she looked up from her computer, I immediately felt better; she was smiling. Her pink lipstick looked better than ever as she smiled at me with grace and love. I felt extremely confused, as I was sure that she would have a talk with me about getting my grades up. I took a slow deep breath and felt the cold, dry air go in and out of my lungs and before I could finish my breath. Ms. Zazoski started speaking.

    ‘Hello Orianna,’ she said, still smiling. ‘I’m sure you know why I have called you here today.’

    ‘Yes,’ I quietly whispered, still nervous.

    ‘So I have noticed that in most of your classes your grades have been slipping.’

    I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed talking about this with my favorite teacher. ‘Yeah, I know. I am trying to do better.’ I said, hanging my head low. She quickly started to read from her giant computer, my grades from each of my classes.

    ‘Orianna, this isn’t the end of the world. I know what you are going through at home, and If you need any support, I am her for you, always. All I want to do is help you so you can finish this year on a good note.’ she said, in the most kind tone.

    At this point, I was almost ready to burst. ‘I’m so sorry Ms. Zazoski. I really want to do better but it is so hard.’ I said as tears burned and streamed down my face. I could barely see her through my emotions that had been locked up for so long.

    To my surprise, my teacher started crying with me. ‘I know how you feel. But this is temporary; I am here so you can get through this. Talk to your teachers and ask them what you can do to make up for this. Ask them for extra credit, make up your missing assignments and get them turned in on time.’ she said through tears as well.

    ‘Ok, I will definitely do that Ms.Z. Thank you so much.’ I said as I hugged her and took a whiff of her sweet botanical perfume.

    That was the motivation that I needed to improve my grades. As I walked out of her neat and vibrant room painted with purple and yellow, I was extremely relieved. It felt as though a 1000 pound weight was lifted off my shoulders. It warmed my heart to know that I had someone at school who understood my situation and wanted and strived for me to succeed. By far, my 7th grade English teacher was the sweetest and most understanding woman that I had ever met; and now I wanted to succeed. I talked to all of my teachers and got all the missing work and extra credit that I needed.

    Overall, I was able to finish and overcome my challenge of bringing up my grades. I have learned that even with obstacles in my way, there is always support nearby to help you through. I am no longer afraid to ask for help or support.

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