High school is a dizzying time. After the awkwardness of developing an identity and friends in middle school, teens are expected to mature immediately on the moment they step foot in the high school. As a naïve teen, I thought that the persona I had developed in middle school will be who I am for the rest of my teenage life. But that was not true. I felt like I shed the skin I cultivated in middle school. Although a little late, I transformed from being a naïve and happy-go-lucky teen into a more mature and responsible teen—one that is ready for the common problems students face in college.

As a ninth grader, I did not fully realize the impact of my grades from the beginning of high school to my future. As a result, here I am, applying to college with a flawed application, anxious about my college admission essay. If I had worked harder instead of prioritizing socializing, I would not be applying to colleges with a 1300 SAT and a 2.7 GPA. If I had spent an extra hour or two studying, I could have been the ideal candidate with a higher SAT score and better GPA. I suppose I’m still lucky that I realized this before my senior year started. It’s not entirely too late. 

My senior year I an earnest effort to somehow salvage my GPA and, more importantly, improve my work ethic. I still hung out with my friends, naturally, but I made it a point to limit the time I spend with them so I could still have sufficient time to study. At home, I remove all possible distractions and honed my study method. I am quite proud of the progress I have made as a student and found my grades rising and myself finding my studies easier. However, my hard work in this final year of college is not enough to pull up my GPA. I have come to accept that my GPA will not reflect the hard work I did and the transformation I underwent this year. 

Regardless, I am determined to make something of myself. I have so much time yet to do this with a great university. My realization left me with a new attitude toward grades. I no longer see grades as an arbitrary way to measure students’ intelligence but as a way to demonstrate my discipline, responsibility, and ability to work hard. With this new attitude, I am confident that I will only grow into a more responsible student and will not revert to the type of student I was in ninth grade.

Moreover, I am excited about choosing a major in college that genuinely interests me. I am positive that having the ability to choose my own classes would supplement my newfound interest in studying. In high school, I have always found it easier to study for classes that I found interesting. However, I also understand that college entails taking required courses that don’t necessarily interest me. All the courses required by the university will hone me into a well-rounded individual. After all, I would rather struggle to become person with a comprehensive understanding of the world and with multiple skills than be complacent with one skill and a narrow field of knowledge.

Armed with my goal-oriented nature, I know that I will study for such courses just as hard. I will keep my goal in mind—that all the courses I take will bring me closer to my college degree and future success. There is no guarantee that I will always be 100% enthusiastic about studying. I know because I have experienced this in senior year; but I trust that I will immediately regain the drive to excel. I will keep my eye on my goal of becoming a well-rounded individual and future professional and understand that all aspects of my college life will lead me to this. There is no doubt that the courses will be challenging but I guarantee that my resolve will be more steadfast. I am still new to being a responsible, mature young adult, but I am a changed man with an unwavering determination to learn and succeed.