How I Almost Didn’t Graduate High School

Happy 2014!!!
Time for party poppers and sparklers and resolutions.
I find that I am like most people – resolutions are not my thing. I write resolutions down anyway just so I can say that I did it, but I never look back at my list (at least not until Dec. 31 when I need to refer to the previous year’s list for ideas).

The first of this year, I did just that. I noticed the usual resolutions: stay fit, read more, get good grades, etc. I also noticed one resolution that has appeared on every single resolution list I have ever made (usually written in all caps and underlined for emphasis):
Stop Procrastinating.

Looking back over this last year, that particular resolution made me cringe because…

well… I didn’t exactly fix that particular bad habit.

Many people will tell you that they are the King/Queen of Procrastination. My experience may convince you otherwise, for in 2013, I procrastinated something for the longest I have ever procrastinated.

And it almost ruined my life.

It all started on registration day of my senior year of high school. Because of a mix-up in my schedule, I had to take an art course online to fill a requirement to graduate. Initially, I thought that this course would be no big deal. It seemed simple enough, I could probably finish it in a month if I wanted.

But let’s be honest – I had until May to finish this course. I wasn’t going to rush it.

Plus, I had a ton of other things going on – I was editor of the school newspaper, president of the Red Cross Club, president of a South Bay choir, and a lead in the school play (in addition to taking 3 AP courses). I could slough off the art course for a little bit.

Bad life choice.
Very bad life choice.

I completed assignments every now and then, small quizzes and such – they were a breeze. But I ignored the large art assignments and exams. Hey, I had time.

February rolled around and I still had not finished the online course. I made a visit to my counselor, where she conveniently informed me that I had to complete not one, but two art courses.
A brief freak-out session ensued, but that didn’t last long. No big deal, I thought to myself, I can finish both courses in a month.

Well… that didn’t happen. At this point, I was a lead in the school musical on top of everything else, so the art courses got pushed aside. More important things took precedence, and that course was a piece of cake. I could handle it, easy.

May 5.

As I laid down for a peaceful night’s sleep, my eyes darted open and I bolted up in bed.

One month until graduation. One.
And I had not finished my art courses yet.

I had to draw/paint multiple pictures, apply for exams, take the exams, and mail everything in so it could be graded. And then the grading process could take up to 2 weeks.

I might not finish in time.

All of these thoughts converging at the same time brought on an immediate tear-fest that left me incoherent when I walked what felt like the green mile to my parent’s room to explain my predicament.

This whole situation – the prospect of not graduating – had never occurred to me before. The plan for my life always went something like this: get good grades, get into a good school, go to college, get a great job, live happily ever after.

However, because of my stupidity in procrastination, that crucial pivot point of graduation from high school might not happen – which meant that my life plan was virtually destroyed.

One of my pieces of art

One of my pieces of art

After weeping my plea for help to my parents, I stayed home from school the next day and hastily painted and drew and applied for tests like my life depended on it, because it kind of did.

After I finished absolutely everything and sent it off in the mail, the wait began.

It was absolute torture.

What made things worse was that I made the brilliant decision to accept an offer to speak at graduation. Now, if my grades did not arrive in time, I would not only face personal humiliation, but the entire Class of 2013 would know my shame.

Oh joy.

One art course grade came in about a week later, which would have been a tremendous relief if I weren’t waiting for the remaining grades. So I anxiously awaited for results, all the while checking the art course website every time a computer came in sight, for my life hanged in the balance.

One day – a week and a half from graduation day – my counselor took my AP Government class into the computer lab to complete some senior survey. Having completed the survey early, I checked the course website for my grades.

Lo an behold, to my utmost surprise and complete joy, my grades for my final course, like an angel descending from heaven, appeared on the screen.

Laughter and exhilaration came forth and I even turned to the person next to me and eagerly told them, “Hey [person sitting next to me], I am officially graduating!!!” This was met with an extremely confused look, but I knew that inside, they were secretly celebrating with me.

I quickly (and probably loudly) called over my counselor and poked the screen, showing her my grades (she was probably celebrating inside, too). She wrote down the grade, and that was it.

With less than 2 weeks to spare, I had done it. I could graduate, speak at graduation, go to college, and live out the plan for my life.

I may not be one for resolutions, but after this experience, I definitely took my “stop procrastinating” resolution to heart. Since this harrowing time, I have made it a point to not procrastinate more than a couple of days.

Well, mostly. Wonder how long it took me to finally write this post? Not a couple days, that’s for sure.

I guess it’s a work in progress.



They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.


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