Lily Itzinger

Imagine, you're in third grade. You’re taking a quiz, sitting in a room next to around thirty other people. But you're unable to focus due to the ticking of a clock right above the window. You find yourself distracted by the birds chirping in the tree outside. You begin to wonder how exactly birds communicate with one another. Suddenly, you hear your stomach rumble, and you start to think about how hungry you are; your mind begins to wonder, what will the cafeteria be serving for lunch today. You then remember that it is almost time for lunch. Your focus turns right back to the clock. By then you've figured out that there are twenty minutes left until the class is over. You think to yourself, “ so if five times four equals twenty, that means that I only have to wait four separate rounds of five minutes until lunch begins.” All of a sudden you notice the students in front of you standing up from their chairs, turning in their finished quizzes. You then look down at your paper to see that you have only completed the first question. Panic sets in, you think to yourself, “I don't have enough time,” so you start to randomly fill in the bubbles to each of the questions on the paper. You’re nervous  because you don’t want to be labeled as the stereotypical “slow kid” just because you were the last person to turn in the quiz. Finally you’ve completed the last question, and as you stand up to turn in the quiz, you begin to regret everything that you have just done. And as you sit back down in your seat, you think to yourself, “I knew the answers, what's wrong with me?” Days later you receive your quiz back face down on your desk. As you flip over the paper you notice your grade written in bright red ink at the upper left corner of the page. You then observe the students around you comparing their scores with one another, but you're too scared to show anyone the grade you received, so you quickly slip the paper into your backpack, and act like nothing ever happened. As you sit in your chair watching other students brag about how they got one hundred percent on the quiz, you feel as if you have failed yourself because you knew deep down that, if you had enough time, you would have had the ability to complete the quiz.

And that is exactly how I felt. Because of this, I was always accused of being a terrible child in school that would never stop talking, that could never focus; someone who barely had the ability to sit still. I was simply unable to succeed when it came to my academics. Reading and writing was difficult for me, taking tests was near impossible, not to mention the immense struggle of completing my homework. Due to events such as this, I often thought of myself as a failure.

But what actually is failure? Is it the lack of success? Whether we like it or not, we are all bound to fail at one point or another, whether it be in business, in a relationship, or even on a test. Often, this idea of failure comes along with feelings of embarrassment or regret, but as I have gotten older I have come to the realization that we should not regret our failures, because the mistakes we make in life are often the most valuable lessons.

Attending Renaissance gave me the ability to learn how to adapt. I have used audiobooks to my advantage, and discovered that I can use my phone to dictate into Google Docs in order to complete certain tasks, which I have found to be more efficient to me than writing or typing. I began to excel when it came to completing and turning in assignments, when I wanted to of course. Yet, I still found myself comparing my grades and test scores to the students around me. But for what reason? What did I accomplish from doing that? It has taken me a long time to understand that not everyone learns the same way. Not everyone has the ability to finish a test in under twenty five minutes, and that is completely okay. I may not be the most ideal student, but that does not mean that I don't have plenty of other skills. I am not a failure just because I don't get straight A’s, for what truly matters is that I've tried my hardest.

Throughout the pandemic, I have learned that it is okay to fail at times. Conflicts will arise, there will be many challenges that life will throw at you and yes they will be hard to overcome, but the way you react and the knowledge obtained from these hardships are what makes you special in your own way. These so-called failures push us to better ourselves, to prove that we are strong enough to learn, accept, and grow from our mistakes.