A Stepping-Stone of Life

Allie - St. Davids, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

How can I make the best out of life? Since I was little, I have been asking myself this question and searching for an answer. Unfortunately, I never could find it. My mom used to advise me that I was such a pessimistic person. In other words, I looked at the glass half empty rather than half full.

I finally had an epiphany a couple years ago when I made the biggest mistake of my life: cheating.

In ninth grade of high school, my family, friends, and teachers constantly stressed the importance of the next four years, and that I needed to work as hard as I could because I would not get a second chance. As naive as I was, I could care less what people told me because I thought school was a piece of cake. I refused to waste three hours of my night studying; instead, I would run frantically into homeroom the next morning with the knowledge of a huge test I did not study for, and I would cram a week’s worth of notes into fifteen minutes during the morning announcements. I was cheating my way out of life, and my attitude started getting worse and worse. Freshman year was almost over, and stupidly enough, I had ruined my grade for good. It was time for my math exam, and butterflies filled my stomach as I began to solve algebraic equations. I knew what I was doing until I got to the last problem, which consisted of fractions. Oh great, I thought. It was worth ten points, a huge chunk of my grade. I glanced over the person next to me and asked him for help just as the teacher looked up with anger in her eyes and caught me. Not only did this mistake hurt my math grade, but it also brought down my entire GPA, so I had to change my negative, self-defeating habits.

Finally, I would load up on caffeine, staying up late memorizing word after word of vocabulary, presidents, and structures of a cell, and then I would wake up at the crack of dawn to review. I visited the school library so frequently the librarians knew me by name. I finally got my act together, and I learned to persevere because in the end, the achievements will be well worth it.

Since then, it has been difficult to catch up from my mistakes no matter how hard I try. Getting caught cheating was a stepping-stone in my life. I do not look back and regret the mistakes I made because without them, I would not be as dedicated and determined as I am today. I only live once, and no matter what life throws at me, I learned to stop dwelling on the past because I believe everything happens for a reason. Every time I pour that glass of water, I now know today whether the glass is half empty or half full.