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Writer learns lesson about failure

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Andrea Steward is a senior.

Andrea Steward is a senior.

L. Fruge

L. Fruge

Andrea Steward is a senior.

Failure is defined as a lack of success. Everyone fails at something at least one point in their life and for me, the moment I felt like a true failure almost resulted in the death of my creativity.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I experienced failure for the first time doing something that meant a lot to me. I have always been an avid reader and writer, so it was not a surprise that I was accepted into the Pre- AP English program.

The first assignment I faced was an essay over the novel The Book Thief. I have always been confident in my writing, and that instance was no different. I wrote with conviction and passion and developed an essay that I felt was well above average. I have a large vocabulary because of my passion for literature and use this in my everyday life.

When the instructor handed my paper back to me, I was devastated. I made a failing grade, which had never happened to me before. The comments on my paper were harsh; there was no constructive criticism, just criticism. From the development of my essay to the diction I selected, there was nothing left intact.

When I approached my teacher in confusion and asked her why I had failed something that I had spent so much time and effort in creating, her response was that my writing style was not working for her and that if I wanted to pass her class, my writing style would have to change. She even commented that the words I used were outdated and superfluous. Of course she didn’t use that word – she used the term “excess.” She felt that I needed to use common words that people would understand without having to look up the definition. In her mind, if she didn’t know what it meant, then it was wrong. Needless to say, I was reluctant to write another essay only to have it completely eradicated.

I spoke with my mother to ask her advice on how to handle the situation. My mother, who is a teacher, made the suggestion that I might want to move into another class where my writing would be more appreciated. I was apprehensive to switch into a lower level class. In high school, a student wants to take the highest classes possible in order to build up their academic profile for colleges to look at. I was no different.

I felt that by switching into a normal class I was a failure, that I was not as good of a writer as I had thought. I became incredibly self-conscience in an ability that I had been strengthening for years. I eventually did switch into another class and it was the best decision I have ever made. My new teacher appreciated my talent and encouraged me. She helped me to grow assure in my ability again. I have not looked back. I have learned to take what some might say with a grain of salt. Every teacher is different. They like different things and I should not change my unique way of writing for anyone.

If I would have stunted my writing growth back in sophomore year, I do not know where I would be today. I am attending a new high school, and I am again in the AP English program. My current teacher enjoys my writing whole-heartedly and has even pulled me aside to tell me that he cannot wait to see what I have to say next. Graduation is quickly approaching, and I am looking forward to attending St. Edwards University in Austin, TX. I have found a school that appreciates all that their students can bring to the table. If we were all the same, it would be a rather dull world.

Failure is not a reason to quit. ”

— Andrea Steward

Failure is not a reason to quit and it is not the end of the world. While some teachers may not appreciate the artistic ability that a student may bring to the table, somewhere there is one that is waiting to nurture that talent. If I had let my sophomore year teacher smother my enthusiasm, I would not be the woman I am today. I would not be a staff member of this newspaper. I would not be furthering my education and working toward an English Literature major. Failure is not the end of the world, unless you let it defeat you. I no longer let the fear of failure dictate my life.

 

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Writer learns lesson about failure