The project

personal narratives Mar 23, 2021

By Shuphan Zhao

I should’ve known that working with Fiona wouldn’t help me or our project succeed. I had worked with her before for a science fair, yet we barely got that project done and it looked like a bunch of 1st graders had done it instead of 4th graders. But this time might've been the worst project I’d ever done in my life…
    Usually, for our G.T (gifted and talented) projects we were allowed to work with a partner, but since we had been deemed “older and more independent” we had to work by ourselves. Yet somehow, somehow, we convinced the teacher we could be trusted enough to work with a partner. At first I was so excited about this. I loved working with my friends for projects. So you can tell how desperate I was to find a partner. I was searching around the room like a hawk to find someone to work with. In the end the only person who was willing to work with me and didn’t have a partner yet was Fiona.
    I had worked with Fiona a few times before, so I probably should’ve known better than to put all my trust in her for this project. We had worked together for a science fair and it had taken us way longer than usual to finish that project. It had taken us multiple days just to figure out what our project was going to be about. Even with that prior experienceon the table, I still decided to be Fiona’s partner. Maybe I did it out of desperation to have someone to work with? Maybe out of pity? To this day I don't know why I decided to work with her.
    We decided to work on the project at my house. Once she arrived, we started to plan what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. We had already planned out most of what we needed at school, but we wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing. After about 30 minutes Fiona started saying we had worked really hard already and  should take a break for a few minutes. At first I thought nothing of it, so we went downstairs to get something to eat and went right back to work. These small breaks seemed pretty harmless, considering each one was very brief, but they quickly increased in time –- from 5 minutes to 10, then from 10 to 15, then from 15 to 20. Every time she asked for another break I questioned whether or not we would actually finish the project. A few hours went by and I thought of confronting her about all these breaks, but my anxiety stopped me. What if she thinks I’m being too much? What if she just laughs and goes away on another one of her endless breaks? What if she decides she just doesn't want to do the project with me anymore? More and more of these thoughts came, causing me to start breathing heavily, sweating, and almost have a panic attack. Fortunately, I calmed myself down and went back to working on the project. I was too mentally tired to do anything at this point. She had dragged me up and down the stairs doing almost everything in our house.  By the time dinner rolled around, we had successfully finished a quarter of our project, eaten almost everything in my cupboard, played some video games, and played two rounds of soccer in our backyard. Once we heard my mom calling us for dinner, we stared at each other, dumbfounded. We sat there in complete silence – we didn’t know what to do. We had just wasted an entire day of work playing around and doing almost nothing.
    We ended up needing 3 more days to finish the project. Over the next few days we tried to work much harder so we could get our project done, yet it still looked like a bunch of 1st graders’ weird arts and crafts project. Since the first day didn't go as planned, we then tried to work much harder and completely focus on our work. We were so lucky that our GT projects weren’t for a grade, or else me and Fiona would’ve definitely failed. 


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