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This Teen Went From High School Failure To College Success

For me, high school sucked. I was unmotivated, bullied, and misunderstood. My grades were horrible, and my emotional state was even worse. I never thought I could go from failure to success.

From day one of high school, everyone told me I was great, and I had tremendous potential. “All you have to do is try,” they would say.

All I heard was, “blah, blah, blah.”

Where was this potential? I was too overwhelmed to find it. I could not keep up with my work, My SAT and ACT scores had already gotten me into college. By my senior year, I decided that doing schoolwork was just a waste of time, and I stopped doing it.

When my English teacher called my parents to say that I was failing, I hit the lowest point in my life. My parents and teachers were upset with me, and I was in danger of not graduating, but these academic struggles were not the only thing going wrong in my life. My co-captain of the swim team (and ex-friend) was doing everything in her power to ruin my social life and swimming career.

Somehow, I survived the year. Graduation was the best moment of my life. I walked off the stage knowing that I would never have to see my teachers and classmates ever again. I was starting over.

My first day of college flew by in a whirl of new places, faces, names, and freedom. I was on my own for the first time, but I was also free from my past. No one knew me or my slacker reputation.

I felt motivated and decided to change my life for the better, and move from failure to success.

My comeback began with my first paper for English, the subject I had struggled with in high school. I buckled down, wrote the best paper I could and pressed send. I’ll never forget the email I got from my professor. It’s still hanging on the bulletin board above my desk:

Hi Katherine,

I look forward to talking to you about your writing, because I thought your essay was just about perfect. Your score was 100. Maybe you should think about a concentration in writing! 

Thanks. 

Dr. Davis

Those three sentences made me realize my potential.

My new self, this “new Katherine,” started to flourish.

I joined the club, Colleges Against Cancer, and started writing for the school newspaper. School officials started to notice my outstanding grades and school involvement and invited me—ME!—to participate in a six-week emerging leadership training program. Today, I am in the accelerated-graduation program, I maintain a 3.89 GPA, and I am in leadership roles in a variety of campus organizations.

High school was not the prime of my life; in fact, it was the worst time. I was failing, and I had no desire to change. At college, with a clean slate, I became motivated. I needed to prove to myself and everyone else that I could succeed. And the more I tried, the more opportunities came my way. I see now that the same people who brought me down in high school also made me a winner. Thank you bullies and teachers for motivating me to my true self: a winner.

Katherine Taylor

By Katherine Taylor, a student in Travel Tourism and Hospitality at Johnson & Wales University.