Get Your Teen Magazine in your inbox! Sign Up

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 in high school to success in life.

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! 


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.

Related Articles

GET YTM IN YOUR INBOX!Receive our weekly newsletter with the latest articles, media, and resources.
STAY IN THE KNOWWe've got the wisdom, advice, and comfort you're searching for

Parenting teens is all of this: 😔Lonely 🤣Hilarious 😖Frustrating 😻Fun 🥰Loving 

No matter where you are, we're here for you.