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What Does Success in Middle School Look Like? An Eighth Grader Shares

Have you ever accomplished your greatest dream? Or achieved something so incredible you feel like you’ve conquered the world? If you have, it must feel fantastic knowing you worked through your challenges and ended up with a great ending. But getting to that great ending is like walking on a rocky hiking trail: it’s hard, challenging and requires a lot of steps. That’s how I think of my time here at SA Harlem East Middle School.

My name is Rabia Ahmed and I’m currently in my last year (eighth grade) at SA Harlem East. I know many others dislike the idea of having to go to the same school for most of their lives, but this year I’ve come to realize that the rocky trail of SA is worth it in the end.

I’ve chosen debate as my elective this year because the topics discussed in debate intellectually challenge the mind and allow you to feel free to talk about and debate over anything. For example, we were going over current events in class one day, and started to discuss the murder of Botham Jean by a white female police officer. The officer entered the victim’s apartment, and shot him when he failed to comply with her orders. The officer was released after a short time in jail because she justified the murder by stating that she had thought that she was in her own apartment (she lived one flight up). When she saw the victim, she thought he was an intruder.

Debate allows me to become aware of topics like this, to discuss them honestly, and to share my knowledge and opinions. It is basically my favorite thing to do and is the best part of eighth grade.

But with great things comes not so great things. I don’t want to get ahead of myself — I still have a long way to go —but experiencing eighth grade these first few months, I can definitely say it’s not easy. With the constant reminder of my GPA, I basically have become a perfectionist in making sure my GPA stays above a 95. On top of that, I am constantly haunted by the fact that I have to take Regents exams towards the end of the year in order to transition into high school.

Overall, though, it’s not completely bad. I’ve learned that all you have to do is follow some simple steps and you’ll breeze through middle school, specifically 8th grade! Homework is an absolute must, unless you’d rather risk everything else — including your future. I am not a guidance counselor but I can definitely say that most of what you learn comes from doing your homework. Homework challenges you and prepares you for your next topic in each and every class.

A lot of doing well in eighth grade is based on self-discipline and responsibility. It is imperative for you to own your actions and learning. At this point in our lives we have to take care of ourselves, which is why middle school can be tough but rewarding. For example, if it is hard for you to understand a certain topic in one of your classes, it is up to you to take responsibility and attend an extra-help session.

It’s also very challenging to stay motivated but it’s an absolute must. I took a lot of time to think about the challenges ahead these past few months, and I realized that in order to survive eighth grade, I must be constantly motivated and that goes for just about anybody.

As the businesswoman Heather Bresch said, “There is no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success.” We have to dig deep and find our motivation, and when we find it, we are one step closer to achieving success. Failure is inescapable, but we can take a failure and learn from it. Just like that rocky hiking trail, we work hard, we stay motivated, and sometimes we fail but we don’t let failure stop us.

We have to dig deep and find our motivation, and when we find it, we are one step closer to achieving success.

I find it really exciting to think ahead in the future, and sometimes you have to do just that in order to stay motivated. I have a long way to go before high school and I’m willing to hike up the trail no matter how hard it is, so you should too! Don’t let anything stop you from reaching your dreams.

Written by Rabiat Ahmed October 12, 2018

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