The Essay

personal narratives Mar 22, 2021

By Richard Li

Remember that your essays are due by tomorrow morning!” 

These words were the words that shattered my happiness that day and started a major problem. It was the day before my essay for English class was due, and I still hadn’t written anything. This essay wasn’t just some essay; it was life or death, the difference between a B and an A minus. 

As the day went by, I became more and more agitated about the essay. When school finished for the day, I tried to work on the essay but ended up getting distracted and watching TV. The TV show was very exciting, and I ended up watching a lot of episodes. After the fourth episode, I told myself that I needed to work on the essay. So naturally, what I did was sit down and start to read a book. I couldn’t help it. I was enthralled by the plot of that book, and reading was just so much more fun than having to write an essay. After reading for about an hour, I once again tried to write the essay. This time, I actually got to my computer and opened up my document before opening up a messaging app on my phone. I wanted to see how my friends were doing, and chatting with them was simply better than having to write an essay. No matter what I did. I couldn't bring myself to write this essay. 

Eventually, I put my phone down and started to plan out my essay. This is an important essay, I thought to myself. My grade is at a B and this essay is the difference between a B or an A minus. As much as I tried though, I kept getting distracted. This cycle of getting distracted, writing a few lines, then getting distracted again got me a full paragraph done. It wasn’t enough, though. It wasn’t even close. I looked down at the time and shock ran through me. Three hours had passed like it was nothing, and it was getting very late. 

I thought of what my parents would say if I couldn’t get the A minus grade. My parents had been telling me all semester to work hard and get my assignments done early so I could raise my grade up to an A minus. My mom would be disappointed, and I didn’t want that to happen. The shame would be unbearable. I needed to complete this assignment. However, I knew that I would get distracted again, so I needed to find a way to get rid of the distractions. I stored my books in my desk drawer, shut off my phone, and prepared to write. 

The urge to look at my phone was overwhelming, but I shook myself out of it and continued to write. I wrote for two frantic hours before finally getting ready to sleep. However, my nerves prevented me from sleeping. There was too much stress. Would I get the grade I needed? Was the essay good? Please tell me I can get an A minus. 

When I woke up the next day, I double and triple checked my essay before I turned it in. It felt as though the whole school could see me shaking in fear. The next week was a blur, and although the essay was past me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the result. I got back my grade and almost fainted from relief. I had gotten the minimum grade to get an A minus. The stress and worry I obtained from this emotional journey wasn’t worth the book I read or the TV show I watched. I still liked them, but they almost prevented me from getting that A minus. This taught me to watch TV, read books and text my friends when I didn’t have assignments due, such as on the weekends. That way, I wouldn’t have to go through the same emotional rollercoaster.


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