Dear Diary

August 20, 2014

Education anxiety.


We got our schedules for the upcoming school year in the mail back in May. I opened the envelope and frowned.

“They gave me computer programming instead of chemistry,” I told my parents. Then I added: “And I’m going to fix that.”

We’re allowed to change our schedules to a certain extent, but you have to get your request in early. I went to see my counselor the next day and successfully argued for the changes I wanted: an advanced chemistry class, to switch to the PE class my friends are in, and one free period. I came home relieved and happy, clutching the printout of my new schedule like I was afraid someone would snatch it away.

Fast-forward to last week, when an new copy of my schedule arrived in the mail. Imagine my horror upon discovering that all the changes I had made had been reversed! Within minutes, I had composed a hopeful message to the school administration, hit send, and waited.

After several days with no response, I reread the letter that came with my schedule. It said they wouldn’t respond to emails about schedule changes.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” I moaned to my parents. “I did everything they asked us to. There’s no way they could have re-created my original schedule after the changes I made.”

“It sounds like your counselor didn’t save the changes he made,” said my mom.

I emailed my counselor to ask what had happened. Later that very same day, I got a call from a teacher who told me that there had indeed been a computer glitch, and that they would do their best to switch everything back. There was one problem, though: The chemistry class I wanted was already full.

I wasn’t ready to give up. This is my junior year: the year of standardized tests and rigorous workloads and getting to show colleges what you can do. The year when everything counts. Luckily, that chem class is being taught by the guy I had for science last year. I wrote one last, desperate email:

“I’ve been pulled out of your chemistry class,” I explained. I asked if there was any way he could squeeze in one more student. “If that’s impossible,” I wrote, “do you have any recommendations for reputable online chemistry courses?”

The response came within minutes. He promised to speak to the school counselors about the issue, and the next day a PDF was sitting in my inbox. It was my schedule for the fall semester, exactly how I had wanted it.

I know this may seem like the most banal story ever: There was a problem, I notified someone, the problem was fixed. But the moral of the story is important to me: Don’t give up. I wouldn’t have gotten the classes I wanted if I hadn’t kept emailing everyone. I often talk myself out of chasing things like this. This experience was a useful reminder that persistence really works. ♦


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  • queen_of_disaster August 20th, 2014 7:40 PM

    Oh me oh my! Ananda, I hope all goes well/went well after the news of your exams. I’m *crossing* my fingers for you. xoxo

  • LarkAscending August 20th, 2014 8:12 PM

    I have been avoiding actually going to bed for some time now (it’s one in the morning), knowing that this strategy is ultimately unhelpful, as I’ll just be more tired tomorrow and less able to deal with the contents of that terrifying brown envelope (good or bad) — but I’m still continuing with it, evading being alone with my fears for a little longer. Still, I know I will have to switch off my laptop (aka my prime distraction) soon, so I just searched Rookie for “exam results”, hoping for some helpful article. Rookie didn’t disappoint. (Thank you, Ananda!)

    Best of luck to you all, my fellow results-getters. I hope that the grade boundaries worked out, and that that exam you thought you’d failed turns out to be an A*. And that, even if it doesn’t, you will still be OK. People tell me that there is still life after GCSEs, after all.

  • doikoon August 20th, 2014 10:22 PM

    Sending supportive vibes to you Britney and thanks for what you said about self censoring, it was a really good reminder.

  • honorarygilmoregal August 21st, 2014 12:52 AM

    Congrats Lilly for successfully lobbying to get your schedule changed! Never give up :)

  • Elsary August 21st, 2014 2:26 AM

    Lots of hugsand support for you, Britney! School here has started already, and I had kinda same feelings that you did. Just try to be happy and believe in yourself. It’s hard, I know.
    Lilly, that was really such an inspiring and strength-giving diary! I’m happy it all worked out, and I made a promise to remember this whenever I need to.
    And fingers crossed, Ananda! Hoping for the best!

  • DymondMag August 21st, 2014 6:39 AM

    your post really resonated with me Britney. I constantly mould myself to make other people less uncomfortable (not that I know they would be just weird me overthinking I guess) I’ve been writing myself little manifestos and reminders around the place like ‘don’t be afraid to take up space.’ Hopefully I’ll actually listen to my own advice.

  • nnora August 21st, 2014 9:42 AM

    WHAT HAPPENED?! Hoping everything went well.

  • mothcub August 21st, 2014 10:22 AM

    I remember the anticipation of results so well and I just want to say that it’s not necessarily as big of a deal as it seems. I failed my maths and English GCSEs (the only ones I NEEDED – also, English was my best subject, so that was a surprise) but I retook them at college and ended up with the same number of a levels as everyone else in the same time period because taking two GCSEs and one AS in my first year of college was a lot less work than like HUNDREDS of GCSEs that they make you do in school. Also the fact that I was slightly older made everything much easier.

    Really though, try not to worry too much, you can always retake, and life surprises you a lot (in a good way) when what you planned doesn’t happen.

  • rachelturtlebaum August 21st, 2014 10:42 PM

    You go Lilly! And best of luck to you, Ananda!