Youth Voices
Youth Voices
Looking Past the Surface

In some point in their life, every student has received a grade that they are not satisfied with. I knew that it was inevitable that the same would happen to me, but I didn’t realize that it would teach me such an important lesson that I would carry with me throughout my life.
It was March 4 of freshman year of High school. I remember the date so clearly because it was the day of my sister’s birthday and I was excited to celebrate with her after school. The week before, we had taken a math test that I felt went really well for me. I had taken the time to redo all the math homework problems and I was confident that I knew the material thoroughly. On the day of the test, I zoomed through the problems and finished with a good amount of time remaining. I left the classroom confident that I aced it!

On March 4, in fourth period my classmate whispered to me that the math grades were up. I was excited to see what I got! Hiding my phone under the table, I quickly opened the power school app and scrolled to refresh it. What I saw, made my mouth drop open in shock. A big, fat C+ was staring right up at me. My friend noticed my expression and asked what was wrong. Mind you, I knew that a C+ wasn’t that bad, but I studied a lot for this test so I wasn’t expecting to do so poorly. When I revealed what I got to my friend, she was surprised as well! The first thing she said was “You’re asian! You’re supposed to do well!” Now this friend loves to joke around so I laughed along with her, but in actuality, I took her words to heart. After second period, all I could think about were her words. I was really depressed throughout the day because I thought that I did something terribly wrong by not being the person that everyone else saw me as. I kept thinking this way until another close friend of mine pointed out that I didn’t have to fit the asian stereotype. It’s wasn’t like I signed a contract that said I had to act and behave the way others perceived I should.
The issue of stereotypes in this world is one that has been at large for a very long time and it is time for society to try more harder to change. I know we’ve been trying very hard as of late, but I just wanted to remind everybody not to give up. The saying of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is common but also time-less. Like my friend said, there’s no contract that binds us, so what’s stopping us from being different?

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December 20, 2017 4:29 pm


Great job on this piece, it really spoke to me. I think everyone can relate to your story somehow. Stereotypes are becoming too prevalent in society, especially in high school. Students need more things to boost their confidence, not degrade it. Trying to fit a certain stereotype is the opposite of what high schoolers should be doing.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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