• Richard Li

The Essay

By Richard Li

Remember that your essays are due by tomorrow morning!”

These words were the words that shattered my happiness that day and started a major problem. It was the day before my essay for English class was due, and I still hadn’t written anything. This essay wasn’t just some essay; it was life or death, the difference between a B and an A minus.

As the day went by, I became more and more agitated about the essay. When school finished for the day, I tried to work on the essay but ended up getting distracted and watching TV. The TV show was very exciting, and I ended up watching a lot of episodes. After the fourth episode, I told myself that I needed to work on the essay. So naturally, what I did was sit down and start to read a book. I couldn’t help it. I was enthralled by the plot of that book, and reading was just so much more fun than having to write an essay. After reading for about an hour, I once again tried to write the essay. This time, I actually got to my computer and opened up my document before opening up a messaging app on my phone. I wanted to see how my friends were doing, and chatting with them was simply better than having to write an essay. No matter what I did. I couldn't bring myself to write this essay.

Eventually, I put my phone down and started to plan out my essay. This is an important essay, I thought to myself. My grade is at a B and this essay is the difference between a B or an A minus. As much as I tried though, I kept getting distracted. This cycle of getting distracted, writing a few lines, then getting distracted again got me a full paragraph done. It wasn’t enough, though. It wasn’t even close. I looked down at the time and shock ran through me. Three hours had passed like it was nothing, and it was getting very late.

I thought of what my parents would say if I couldn’t get the A minus grade. My parents had been telling me all semester to work hard and get my assignments done early so I could raise my grade up to an A minus. My mom would be disappointed, and I didn’t want that to happen. The shame would be unbearable. I needed to complete this assignment. However, I knew that I would get distracted again, so I needed to find a way to get rid of the distractions. I stored my books in my desk drawer, shut off my phone, and prepared to write.

The urge to look at my phone was overwhelming, but I shook myself out of it and continued to write. I wrote for two frantic hours before finally getting ready to sleep. However, my nerves prevented me from sleeping. There was too much stress. Would I get the grade I needed? Was the essay good? Please tell me I can get an A minus.

When I woke up the next day, I double and triple checked my essay before I turned it in. It felt as though the whole school could see me shaking in fear. The next week was a blur, and although the essay was past me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the result. I got back my grade and almost fainted from relief. I had gotten the minimum grade to get an A minus. The stress and worry I obtained from this emotional journey wasn’t worth the book I read or the TV show I watched. I still liked them, but they almost prevented me from getting that A minus. This taught me to watch TV, read books and text my friends when I didn’t have assignments due, such as on the weekends. That way, I wouldn’t have to go through the same emotional rollercoaster.

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