Sometimes, the most important lessons one can learn from school are not in textbooks or in lectures. It is often times the general life lessons that force their way into such situations that stick with people the longest and help to shape their lives. I became very aware of this after a class that I had in high school forced me to think about my values and goals in life. An experience that I had in my biology class opened my eyes to the value of being able to trust one’s own abilities in spite of the negative attitudes of others. This ability has since helped me to accomplish more goals and truly flourish and succeed.

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I was surprised to realize I had learned a truly valuable life lesson in that class because for much of the year the class was cause for a lot of frustration. I got the feeling early on that the teacher simply did not like me and I suspected this difference of opinions might affect her appraisal of my work. She was not as forgiving with me as she was with other students and despite my continued efforts to study hard and finish all my assignments, she did not seem willing to give me the grades I felt I truly deserved. I thought it might have had something to do with the fact that she and my mother went to the same college. My mother’s career is very enviable so I would not be surprised if my teacher were jealous. Whatever the reason for my teacher’s negative attitude towards me, however, it began to affect my performance in her biology class.

At times, consistently falling short of my personal expectations in her class made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Even though I knew the material and knew I had studied well, seeing my grades fall below what I felt I deserved had an effect on my self-esteem. At fist I was really angry. I talked about how it was not fair and I complained about the class. I realized eventually, though, that being upset was not going to help me succeed at all. I knew I understood the course material and that I had worked hard all year, and I was not going to let a clash of personalities get in the way of my grade reflecting that hard work.

After I realized that I was confident in my own abilities, I was able to overcome the fear of confronting someone at the school about what I felt to be unfair grades. I was sure I had done the best that I could and I thought that someone else at the school must agree. With this in my mind, I chose to try to appeal my grade. In the end, many of the other professors did agree and were able to see how hard I had worked in biology. They decided that I deserved a B and that is what I was awarded as my final grade, even though my own professor had refused to give me such a grade.

If I had not believed in myself and had the strength to stand up for myself, I would have ended the year with a grade that did not reflect my work ethic or my academic capabilities. More than that, however, I would have lost sight of one of the most important things in life: the ability to trust yourself. I learned that it is extremely important to trust yourself even when others do not believe in your abilities because otherwise you will not get what you want and deserve out of life. Having confidence in your own abilities will help others to see your worth and which will increase your chances of happiness and success.