I don’t need no book-learning anyhow…

As of Wednesday my classes are all over. I have no clue how I did on my finals but oddly enough I’m not really concerned about my grades. At midterm I had A’s in all of my courses, I find it hard to believe I’ve fallen very far from there. I feel like I’ve finally figured this school thing out. It took me long enough. 

 

I never understood why I struggled so much in school growing up. I like to learn and, as one former classmate once put it, I’m not “disintelligent”. Not a word, I’m aware, but his intelligence has never been debatable.

 

In elementary school I did alright. I was the only one of my sisters that wasn’t targeted for the prestigious GATE program, but my fifth grade teacher – a lovely woman I will always remember, Mrs. Tramell Henson – was the one that told me I would be a writer and set me on my lifelong journey into the land of prose.  

 

In middle school my grades were average. I managed to garner from my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Christ. the longest parting passage of all his other students. He told me I had brightened his days with my insights and passion for writing, but his closing words, “I wish you’d shared more in class” continue to impact me to this day every time I raise my hand to share in discussion. 

 

High school saw me hit the lowest period in my academic career. I was lucky to graduate, I was ranked third lowest in my class. I spent my last two years there the sole dedicated member of “The Writers’ Response Club” with my favorite teacher – coincidentally my English and Creative Writing instructor, Mrs. Fabbi. It was her off-handed comment to my sister one day, “is she like this at home too,” that first solidified a life-long suspicion…I wasn’t like other kids. I’d struggled my whole life to connect with others. I never understood why people strove to be different, I was different – though I didn’t know why or how – and I suffered everyday for it. But it was the way Mrs. Fabbi pointed it out, with a touch of delight and endearment, that first made me think, “maybe it’s okay to be different.”

 

There were many factors that contributed to my bad grades, namely troubles at home – isn’t that always the case? Grades were never as important to me as worrying over what would happen when school let out. I’m lucky to have had wonderful teachers that imparted lessons which have done more for me in my everyday life than a letter grade ever could. 

 

At the close of this semester, however, my lack of stress about grades has less to do with the home life (which is great now, if you’re wondering), and more to do with the fact I actually studied! 

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