It was junior year- the one colleges look at – and my grandfather was terminally ill; it was a major distraction.The pressure from everyone to do well was overwhelming enough, and the fact that my “rock” was dying did not make anything easier.I started junior year with a determined mindset.I planned on keeping my high 90 average and was striving to make this year the best of high school.
For the first month, school was going well.I was earning grades that I was proud of.Then everything took a turn for the worse.
My grandparents were living with us, as they normally do when they are visiting from Italy.My grandfather was not doing well at all.He was a man filled with life, passion, and happiness, but starting in October of my junior year, that happiness disappeared.He was suffering from stage four kidney cancer.From October to December of the most important year of my high school career, I was preoccupied.Daily visits to the hospital were not fun.I could barely come to terms with what was going on.When my grandfather came home in November, dealing with the illness became even harder; we knew he did not have much time left.Living with someone who was terminally ill was more difficult than I could have imagined.It was difficult to focus on my schoolwork, for my mind was in fifty other places, always thinking about what I could do to make things easier for my grandfather, my mom, and my other relatives.School sat on the backburner for a while.When my grandfather passed, right before the December holidays, I was distraught.I wanted nothing to do with my family, friends, and especially not school.However, life goes on.
Taking three AP courses, Pre-Calculus Honors, Physics, Italian 4, and studying for the SAT’s and ACT’s would be difficult to manage under the best circumstances, but with all the stress it seemed impossible.However, this year my grades dropped. I was constantly disappointed with myself.I knew that I was capable of achieving higher grades, so I needed to take control of the situation instead of wallowing in self-pity.
When I returned from the December holiday, I talked to my teachers to see what I could do to improve my grades. I had a lot of catching up to do.I went in for extra review with my AP Statistics teacher often.I had my physics teacher review my labs before I handed them in. At home, I did extra practice problems to make sure I understood the material. I took practice AP Literature, Statistics, and United States History tests.I was frustrated, I was angry, I was stressed.Catching up seemed impossible and, at times, I wanted to give up.However, because of the extra time I spent, I saw changes in my grades and I did not feel so lost.I was more focused and participated more regularly in class.
My transcript from junior year is not what I wanted it to be.Although I could not retain my 96 average, I ended the year with a 94, proud of what I had accomplished.Despite the circumstances, at the end of the year I felt confident about my schoolwork.My AP tests were not as bad as I thought.No matter what the results were I felt that I was prepared.
Loss is difficult, but life doesn’t stop.It keeps moving and I don’t want to be left behind.Through this experience I have learned to cope with difficulties. College will be challenging.If a situation occurs, I know how to recuperate.After what I had been through this year, I know that if I ever fall behind, I can catch up.I am now more prepared for difficulties that come my way.Despite the hardship, I have gained lessons from this situation that will help me throughout my life.