I failed a few Physics quizzes. So did the majority of the class. The class averages didn’t matter, of course: all anyone could think of was their chances of passing the class. This happened this year, so these were Stuy students; accordingly, they were not used to, and did not take kindly to, single-digit percentages. Neither, in truth, was I. However, at risk of sounding nihilistic, I wasn’t really affected. There was nothing I could do, so I didn’t care.
I believe in persistence. Not persistence in suggestions, studies or objectives, but simply persistence in life. I believe that you can come out from under anything, plus or minus a surly outlook on life. I have, thus far, cultivated a single badge of this. It is my mandatory teenager scowl, and I carry it around everywhere I go. I’m proud of it. It’s a symbol of what I feel is a surly outlook, although it’ll probably look positively joyous compared to my facial arrangements in the following decades.
It’s a good scowl, and has been honed by my experiences as a student, where I am taken under the wings of several people and told how to grow as a person (the answer is do what people tell you). As a student, I am prepared for life through completely unsavory meals, completely unfulfillable demands from teachers, completely unsatisfactory returns on both hard and half-hearted work, and generally depressing everything. Living through hardships may build character, but living through monotony builds tolerance of life. Thus, as a current student, I feel I am the pinnacle of American achievement, the human that can take any injustice in his stride and keep going, albeit more in a meandering way than with bold strides.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.