My Teachable Moment

Andy Yao

Professor Ding

ENG 2150

February 2024

Finding the Balance

High school is a place where students are focused on getting good grades or if they got into the college that they want. However, for some people, high school was the prime time to socialize and hang out with others. Socializing with people is an important and useful skill that you should learn as you are young. You may find someone that will stay with you for years or even your entire life. Most people can agree that school is a place where there are so many things to be anxious about like upcoming papers, presentations, or exams. Having to worry about so much can take its toll on your mental health. But, socializing was a perfect way to escape the grueling place that was school by talking with others who shared the same feelings and making jokes. It was a silver lining that was a way to relieve stress and anxiety. There is no better feeling than finding someone with whom you can relate, share about yourself, and learn about them as well. However, it is very easy to get lost in all the fun that you have with friends. It can slowly change a person without them even noticing and could change the path of their life. You may neglect your studies or use minimal effort to complete assignments. From what I’ve experienced, it’s easy to get lost in something that brings you joy, but you cannot let that take control of you otherwise you will be in trouble.

During my freshmen year in high school, I was anxious because it was a different environment compared to middle school. High school in comparison is so much larger with more people. The many rooms make it hard to navigate around the school. There is also a higher expectation from people because you are considered a young adult and not a child. The first day of classes was nerve-racking because it was full of new people. Thankfully, with the help of an icebreaker, I was able to start making friends. During lunch, I was very relaxed around them and I would talk a lot with them. We would talk about which teachers were horrible or about video games. In class, we were the class clowns who always joked around, maybe even too much. After school was done and we went home, I spent a lot of time with them online after finishing all my homework. My studies were definitely affected because I did not study for anything much, but I still maintained a high grade so I didn’t worry. Or so I thought, little did I know things would take a turn for the worse.

After a few months in school, we caught wind that a new virus was spreading rapidly across the nation, COVID-19. At first, we thought it was not a big deal and everything was fine, but soon we were told that schools would be closing down. I thought this was awesome because we would be able to spend time at home. Since it was during the lockdown, I spent most of the time talking to friends and playing video games. The work didn’t bother me because it was simple and quick to finish. It was smooth sailing for the rest of my freshmen year. However, at the start of my sophomore year, I was growing tired of the online assignments and Zoom meetings. I began to slack off on homework to talk with friends. Little by little, I lost the effort and motivation to do the work and eventually even to go to class. It started with one day absent and eventually, that turned into weeks. I began to go on a downward spiral where I just didn’t care anymore. It got to the point where I began lying to my parents about going to class. I prioritized hanging out with friends over everything else. However, this would all change when I had a much-needed talk.

After missing school for a few weeks, the school counselor called my parents. They told them that I had missed school for weeks. My parents were shocked which was to be expected because they never thought that I would do something like that. They confronted me about it and had me talk to the school counselor. The counselor told me, “I understand that this is a difficult time, but you have to return to school.” Of course, I agreed and promptly hung up. My mother, older brother, and sister stood there without saying anything. But even without saying anything, I knew that they were disappointed. My brother broke the silence by telling me that he understands that it is stressful. They reassured me and told me that it was okay and to not do it again. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done as I was failing classes. I tried my best to catch up with work with the help of my friends. I was able to pull my grade back up for most of the classes, but I still failed one. In that class, I was way too behind on work to even hope to get my grade back up. Luckily, the school allowed students to make up the classes they failed. During my junior year when things began moving back to in-person classes, I had to stay later on some days to attend an extra class to make up for the one I failed. There are many positives to being with friends, but that can also negatively affect your academics and you have to find the balance between the two.

5 replies on “My Teachable Moment”

Hi Andy

I like the way you have your story laid out for the reader i think you have a good format for it. A really big peice of feedback i have is to dramatize a lot more for the events in your story.for example in your freshman year what did feeling anxious sound feel or hear like to you. How did your heart feel? Another peice of feedback i have is that if you want to make your story about how friends impact your life then I think you should include little stories like playing games with them specifically what games? what happened during those games and what else you and your friends did. Doing this will help your reader be more engaged. Goodluck!

I like the details you mentioned in your writing and the overall structure.
A few things to note:
Your lead was the last sentence, so I think you should state it in the beginning and add a few reasons why (summarize your paragraphs for this).
I’m not sure if this is just a thing I was taught, but there were sentences where it ends with prepositions. I believe the sentences would flow a bit better, just for syntax purposes.

Towards the end, I think you should go into depth with your parents’ reaction to your school counselor revealing about you missing school. It may help with dramatizing the scene.

First of all, I believe your story was a great topic for readers of our age to relate to! Following that, my feedback revolves around how you shape the story.
The lede showed up towards the end of paragraph one, and the teachable moment was only revealed towards the end of the story. Maybe consider moving both of them a bit forward and clarify them a bit more. On top of that, exaggerate more on some of the scenes, such as when your parent found out that you’re not going to school. What’s their reaction? How do you react?

I think you did a great job as you were very descriptive with your words and kept me hooked through out the entire essay. I also appreciate that your teachable moment is a clear one (the phone call with the school counsellor and the talk with your family). I would like to see your point of view on how that lesson learned might have carried over into college. How do you find the balance now? Is it easier or harder? Do you think if you have never had that talk with your parents or counsellor your habits would’ve changed or stayed the same?

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