This I Believe

Sami - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

During sophomore year in high school, I had a rigorous class schedule. I was taking one of the most difficult classes in my school – Advanced Placement European History. The class covered material extremely fast, and oftentimes I was lagging behind. I remember the first day of school. I knew the class was going to be tough, but I was ready for it. I sat down and waited for class to begin.

The teacher began the class with a brief introduction of the course. After his opening speech, he rambled on and on about famous philosophers and how this course was designed to explore their philosophical views. At the end of the period, I was stunned. I had a dazed expression on my face, and people noticed it. Classmates asked me if I understood anything. I replied truthfully, saying that I had never been more confused in my life. Thankfully, they were just as confused. And I realized that I was totally unprepared for this class.

The year went on, but the class did not become more comprehensible to me. The pace of the course sped up, and we were reading large amounts of texts and writing many reports. We had tests very often, and my grade continued to plummet. I would say that I spent multiple hours a night trying to comprehend the subject material, but those hours never helped. I was mentally unprepared.

Near the end of the school year, each Advanced Placement class was required to take their respective exams. I dreaded the European History exam. I felt that I knew nothing. I was worried that I’d fail the test with flying colors. I was still mentally unprepared, and long, sleepless nights of studying made me physically unprepared. But with a few weeks left until the exam, I decided to begin preparing on my own. I bought a review book and studied everyday for hours on end. I covered the entire course in a span of three weeks. This constant studying made me mentally prepared and the amount of rest I got from knowing that I was ready for the test made me physically prepared too.

The test day came, and I was excited. I knew the material I was being tested on because I had crammed it in less than a few weeks ago. I was confident and I felt the test was easy.

Months later, I received my score in the mail. I was pleased to see that I achieved the highest possible score, 5 out of 5 on this national exam. This class, which proved to be the hardest course I have ever taken, made me suffer, but I forced myself to prepare, and I finished with a top score. That is why I believe in being prepared and never giving up. Regardless of the circumstances, being prepared will yield positive results. For me, I had to prepare on my own, but I never gave up. And I am proud of my end result.