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I am that fish.

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Bella Pinera
Member since September 24, 2016
  • 6 Posts
  • Age 17



Stress, anxiety, fear, or should I say the emotions of a modern-day high school student. When the best four years of my life will soon come to a close, a new journey will be ahead: college. As a junior I have dedicated countless hours to study and prepare for this new adventure with the hopes that my standardized test scores will be enough for my dream school. Unfortunately, I (like many) would not consider standardized testing my forte. As a result, not only do I suffer in the classroom, but my intelligence is put under a microscope.

One morning during my free period my friend noticed my stress and told me, “Bella I just sent you a YouTube link, you should watch this video when you get a chance.” Later on that night as I sat in bed overwhelmed by my work load and number of emails, I decided to open her email and click the link. My phone shortly redirected me to the video and the title read, “I JUST SUED THE SCHOOL SYSTEM !!!”. Intrigued, I pressed play and was curious of what the next six minutes of my life would consist of...

Once the video had finished I placed my phone aside and was awestruck. I went back and replayed a portion of the video to listen to a specific quote once again. The video quoted Albert Einstein who said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The speaker not only got me to agree with him, but managed to connect with me on an emotional level – I was that fish.

Overwhelmed with frustration, I began to walk around my room asking myself numerous questions. The thought that an individual is defined by a test score made me sick. I believe one is so much more than a score and/or grade point average. Today, students are often put in a box; they are told to act, think, write, and learn in a certain way. As a result, creativity is killed and carbon copies are created.

However, I for one don’t fit in one box. Instead, I color outside of the lines, write what I feel, and due to my ADHD, learn differently than most do. At first my uniqueness made me doubt myself and lose a majority of my self-confidence. My mom noticed this deficit and reminded me, “Bella common sense is not a flower that blooms in everyone’s garden, but in your garden you have a whole flower patch.” At first, I thought she was just saying something positive in hope of comforting me. Now I realize, that my mom was right (as usual). Thus, I believe things such as common sense, experience, and character should define a person. I for one think my passions, determination, common sense, personality, natural intelligence, and challenges life has thrown my way not only define me, but are worth more than any test score. These characteristics and experiences have made me the young lady I am today. I believe everyone should have the ability to prove their intelligence, focus, hard work, passion, and personality – both on and off paper.

Unfortunately, I know I can’t change our educational system or college application requirements alone. However, I can try to change the way children, parents, students, and teachers think. With that being said to all those reading this please don’t ever forget that no matter what anyone or any test says: you are a genius. You are strong. Your scores do not nor will they ever determine your future success, you can BE and DO anything that you put your mind to. Therefore, as we ring in this new year I challenge you to use your intelligence and common sense, and never judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. .

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