Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Illustration by Savannah Hawk

Diary of a Confused Teenager, Entry One: Grades, Parents and A Global Pandemic

by share

Honors Chemistry, Accelerated Algebra II, Honors World History, Honors World Literature, French III, Dance, and Healthcare Science.

The funny thing about homework when you have eight classes is that it feels like every teacher thinks you only have assignments due for their own class. There are 24 hours in a day and that still doesn’t feel like enough. The past five months of school have been complete torture, and have taken a toll on my sanity. I was eagerly looking forward to the end of the semester so I could go on holiday break. But the last week of the semester also happened to be the most important, and dreaded, week of the entire school year: Finals week.

Did I study for any finals? Nope. Did I do any prep for them? A very minimal amount. Not because I’m lazy or didn’t want to, but simply because I couldn’t. I could barely get out of bed to join class. I had zero motivation or drive to do anything. My grades are worse than they have ever been. I will admit that my grades dropped because I slacked off a bit earlier on in the semester. But I honestly don’t know how tremendous the change would be even if that didn’t happen.

My mom thinks it’s because I don’t care or that I’m not trying. Respectfully, I don’t really care what she thinks. I’m busy trying to make sure my mental health doesn’t hit rock bottom. She explains how important grades are and how my future depends on these years. Since I started school years ago, I’ve grown up with people in my ear telling me how important college is and how my grades and test scores need to look a certain way.

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”Your future is important Savannah,” they all say. Yeah, I’m fully aware. I get it completely, and I’m really trying. I want to go to a good college, and have a well-paying career. I don’t know why my grades aren’t reflecting my effort. I don’t know how to prove that I’m trying. I don’t know how to explain that me being on the phone with my friends and scrolling through social media isn’t me just not wanting to do my work. How am I supposed to explain that these are some of the only things that make me happy, that keep me from falling into depressive states?

That’s a trick question because I can’t.

It’s hard to find the words for something you don’t want to talk about. It’s even harder when you’re asked about it. You don’t want to ignore the question, but you don’t have the strength to even try and make sense of what is happening. It’s obvious that our parents want the best for us, and I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t believe that. It’s just hard trying to maintain a decent social life, academic prosperity, our mental health and well-being, a regular sleep schedule, romantic life, physical health, and preparation for life after graduation. All during a global pandemic that has rocked our entire world.

71, 75, 86, 90, 70, 77.

These are the grades I worked like hell to get at the end of the semester after failing through most of it.

80, 97, 100, 95, 92, 90.

Those were my final exam scores I fought so hard to get and make my mom proud. As soon as I got my scores back and ran downstairs to tell my mom about them.

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She said, “I’m not impressed.”

At that very second, my heart shattered. I know I’m probably being dramatic, and I know she didn’t mean to make me feel this way. Regardless, those words stung. I guess it didn’t matter how I performed in the end after I spent most of the year in the dumps. I just told myself that life in a global pandemic is hard for everyone and she has her own things going on. These are unprecedented times and I know my parents are doing everything they can to make life easier for our family and I’m honestly so grateful for it. I wish I could give her a straightforward answer as to why I’m performing the way that I am. I wish that I could make it better. That’s the funny thing about life. When there’s a problem, I know the effect it’s causing, but I don’t know why it’s happening or how to prevent it.

There’s a quote from “Grey’s Anatomy” that the main character Meredith always says, “The carousel never stops turning.” No matter how hard life is, or how exhausted you are from it, you can’t stop. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it just feels like I’m walking backwards instead of forward. I’m trying to be patient with myself and others, but it’s hard when you feel like everything is crumbling on you and you’re trying to keep everything together with Scotch tape and stickers. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is, but being a teenager in the midst of the atrocity we call this country is 10 times harder. Trying to stay informed about current events while trying to make a difference in today’s society with the intent to improve the world I’m soon going to enter on my own is undeniably exhausting.

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Thankfully, the first semester of my sophomore year is over and the second one is in full effect. 2021 please be good to me, I’m counting on you.

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comments (12)

  1. Ariel Goode

    yessssss honeyyyy I love this!

  2. Daya

    I love this…. you captured all of our experiences in one

  3. Madison

    All my thoughts, in one article!! You’re gonna be great babe, keep doing you!

  4. J’adore Winn

    Well Said. Keep it up! I’m rooting for you 😉

  5. Jasmine Watkins

    You have an amazing vibe and foresight young lady. I would like to encourage you to keep going and thank you for speaking up and out about this. My daughter showed me your entry and I have to say, I have to make changes in my approach as a parent. Whatever this “thing” is has affected the entire world, but don’t get lost in it. Don’t deviate from your goals for yourself. Make sure you take care of YOU in the meantime.

  6. Amaya McGee

    I LOVE THIS. I felt every single word you wrote in my body and soul. Thank you for speaking on this because a lot of people including me are afraid to mention it. Keep walking in your truth and always protect your mental health and inner peace!♥︎

  7. Jade

    Absolutely loved it, you expressed what basically all of us have been feeling last semester!!

  8. Dré..

    this is really going to move everyone that reads this in a right direction. teens know that they aren’t alone..and parents will understand what it’s like for us. amazing article!!

  9. Sofia

    literally how i was feeling when the first semester started. this was well said and a lot of us can relate to this

  10. K

    Purrrrre dopeness. Sometimes as adults, we are often out of touch due to our own personal experiences, beliefs and upbringing. One size def doesn’t fit all. So glad you shed light on the importance of managing your mental wellness (something our community doesn’t really like to discuss). It is more important than your grades. (Your mom is going to kill me) Grades are important buuuut, you can hve the absolute best grades and lose your mind, go crazy and never bounce bck. I guess it’s all about perspective. As humans we hve to extend grace to one another as we all navigate such a time. Congrats on doing an amaaaazing job last semester. Cheers to a banging 2nd semester. Let’s get it!

  11. Chris

    This was so relatable

  12. oliver heitzenrater

    to all the teenagers that this reaches this has to be what they are dealing with. this is very relatable and you know not how much it helps to hear someone else in the same situation