1 Weaver Marissa Weaver Jeff Naftzinger ENC 1101-45 October 20, 13 Position Shift It was the third day of sixth grade and I was not too enthused to be at school. All through elementary school I had loved going to school, but these first couple days had been terrible. I told my mother every day that I wanted to drop out and she looked at me with this baffled face and demanded that I will stay in school until I graduate. Since she only graduated from high school, not college, she knew how hard it was to get a job in this economy with little education. She tried to justify her demand to me, but I just sat there as each word entered in one ear and exited out the other. The next couple weeks had passed and it still did not get any better. Maybe it was because now we had to complete more complicated assignments, or I had six different teachers, or the fact that we no longer had recess. Recess was what made school so much more enjoyable, but now that it was gone I felt like everything fun in life had been stripped from me. Life just went from an enormous playground to this desolate, insensitive society. If this is what the real world consists of then I don’t want to grow up is what I thought to myself as I sat in class and stared at the empty chalkboard as the teacher rambled on about some theory. As I continued into my middle school years, my opinion was still the same, but even more strongly supported. I did horrible in class, but I didn’t even care because I didn’t understand why grades even mattered in the real world. I didn’t participate, rolled my eyes, and hardly paid any attention in class when I did actually attend class. Most of
2 the time I had better things to do. I pretended to ride the bus and when I arrived at school I walked the other direction headed back toward my house. The walk wasn’t too far, but for a 4’2” middle school child, it felt like it took all morning. Owners of local grocery stores stood outside smoking their cigarettes leaning against the wall as I walked by and waved good morning. By this time my mother would be off to work and I could continue on with my normal routine. As I walked in the blue side garage door, I would throw my backpack on the steps, proceed into the house, and then up the flight of stairs to my domain. I slept the rest of the morning away as my brother watched television all day. I would eventually hear my friends outside yelling and playing so I would get up and join them. When I first started skipping school, I felt terrible, and I knew I would eventually get caught and be in trouble. I had watched my older brother do it all the time so I thought it was acceptable. Sometimes my brother would even take me places and buy me things if he was in a really good mood. My brother and I didn’t usually get along very well, since he was a senior in high school and thought that it was below him to hang out with his younger sister. This plan worked all too well, until I had a doctor’s appointment one afternoon that my mom forgot to tell me about. When she came to pick me up at school, I was nowhere to be found. My mother drove around town franticly looking for me, thinking terrible things like someone had kidnapped me. She pulled into a vacant lot and began to cry, thinking that she had lost her child and was a terrible mother. She finally got the courage to continue on to the house and figure out what to do from there. She arrived home, worried beyond belief, to find that my brother and I were making lunch in the kitchen. Before she questioned how and why I was home, she wrapped me up in her arms and began crying
3 Weaver tears of joy knowing that her little girl was safe. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I felt myself being squeezed so tightly that I could hardly breathe. Suddenly it hit her, and she let go of me before I was able to catch myself, and I fell to the floor with a hard thud. She had finally realized what was going on and started yelling, even before I was able to explain myself. With an intensely red face, she started throwing things and telling me about how her life would’ve been ruined if I were actually kidnapped or even worse, killed. Guilt began to set in and I was wishing I would be able to explain to her what was going on before she started yelling. It was probably for the best that she started yelling before I could talk, because I really didn’t have a good explanation except for the fact that I didn’t like school. She finally gave me a chance to speak and I told her that I skipped almost every day. I told her that instead of going and sitting in class as my teachers tried to teach me pointless concepts that I would never use, I would come home and hang out with my brother and sleep all day. My brother tried to play it off like that was his first time skipping, but she didn’t believe his bullshit for a second. Her reaction was definitely not pretty, but my worst fear was yet to come: my father finding out about this. Now that the doctor’s appointment was long past, my mother sat us down and stressed the importance of education to get anywhere in life. At first I just blew her off, but I started to really listen to what she was saying. She explained concepts that actually helped her in the long run. I felt horrible that I had put my mother through this awful situation and guilty that she only wanted the best for my brother and I, but we rebelled against everything she had said. Just as I had thought the situation was over she said,
4 “hold on now, where do y’all think you’re going?” We had not escaped the consequences like we thought we had. My mom didn’t expect us to retain her message as well as we would in the end so her punishment was a little harsh. We were grounded for four months and every day we had to be driven to school by her, walked to our first class by her, and we had to get an assignment signed by every teacher for the day. After she was done telling us what our punishment was, my worst nightmare walked right through the front door: my father. My dad had already heard of the situation from my mom, and he didn’t actually seem as upset as I thought he should look. He walked over calmly to the table and put down his briefcase and took his jacket off, then proceeded to sit down with us. Instead of yelling and screaming, he came across it in a soft tone of voice, but with sternness. He began with, “I’m not going to yell at you guys, because then you won’t listen to what I’m actually saying,” which was absolutely true at the time. His punishment for my brother and I was to write a six page essay on how school was important to succeed in life and where we would end up without an education. I didn’t understand why this was a punishment, because it didn’t seem that hard, but when I actually wrote the essay I slightly began to understood its purpose. As I wrote that essay, I realized that I was heading on a path of no return. I didn’t completely agree with going to school everyday, so I still skipped certain days. After a couple of weeks of actually going to class everyday, I began to grow a sense of accomplishment and pride in the way I’d progressed. I still wasn’t completely proud, since I still skipped, but I knew eventually that would change. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I needed to reevaluate my life.
5 Weaver My guilt hit me even stronger later that year when my brother didn’t get accepted into any colleges, because his grades were so horrible throughout high school. Not only was he not continuing his education, but he hadn’t held a job during high school because he thought he was better than that so he had no skill sets. He would walk around the house and somberly complained about how he could never do anything right. I realized at that time that if you don’t put in the effort to make education one of your main priorities then you won’t ever make it into a higher institution. He was forced to join the military, since he had no skill sets or knowledge of anything useful, unless you call video games useful. I watched it all play out in amazement while I learned a huge life lesson. Since then, I have been more focused and I got straight As through school. I grew a passion for learning and I even would research for fun. I realized that I had to change my behavior if I didn’t want to end up like him. If I hadn’t gotten that wake up call when I did, I could have also been doomed and be in the same situation as he was. Now in college, I still have that same passion for education despite all the distractions. I knew it would be extremely overwhelming here considering I no longer had my parents breathing down my back to get marvelous grades, but I have learned self control. I learned to set aside time for study hours. I still have that passion and love of learning that got me here and I will continue to grow and develop an even greater passion as I continue on through my college years.