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Photo ofFatima Andrade

Everyone in my family works hard. They are always doing something and only relax when they are way too exhausted to do anything else. They have always worked hard, and when this pandemic hit, they worked even harder. I am not surprised just wondering how they push themselves to work when I can’t even wake up in the morning for my first class. 

Middle school for me was not easy, but not hard either. I just lost any motivation I had for school. As I passed each grade I slowly felt myself become less and less focused on it. I still had my good grades though. But then the pandemic happened, and I had to start high school on zoom. I was fine with that because I thought it would help me become more engaged and maybe even restore the motivation I lacked last school year.

The first quarter online was easy, and I enjoyed it. The second quarter was okay, but I started to slack off a little and failed one class that I deemed not important. From one class, I went to having missing assignments in every class because I didn’t finish them and never found the motivation to. Soon, there were more assignments than I could handle but I decided to put them aside and tried my best to finish the new ones. It didn’t work either.

Some teachers talked to me about my missing assignments and I tried to actually do them. Others just didn’t say anything. Which I was happy with because I knew I had no intentions of doing them. My dad didn’t know I was not doing my work. Every time he asked me how it was going, I would say good. He believed me since I have had good grades in  past years. . He also didn’t have time to meet up with teachers and ask them how I was doing since he always comes late from work. So there was no way for him to know.

One day though, when I walked into the living room to greet him since he had just come back from work, he asked me what I was doing. I was confused. He then told me that he had gotten a message from one of my teachers telling him that I had not been doing my work and if something was going on. I really thought he would not find out. I couldn’t lie myself out of this one, and I didn’t want to either. I told him exactly why. It wasn’t just because I had no motivation. It was also because whatever work we didn’t finish in class, I was supposed to take time out of the rest of the day to finish it. But I have to take care of my niece and brother, both who end school at different times than me. I have to make food for them if they are hungry since I can’t do it when I am in class. Then I have to clean the house and make food for everyone. All this takes me hours which sounds like it should not but the house is big, and cooking is not something I am good at so I take my time.

By the end of all this, I am tired and the last thing I want to do is go back and stare at my screen computer for the rest of the night. After I told him all this, instead of being mad like he would be if this was normal school, he told me that I should try more and that he understood why I was not doing good. I was glad. The next day as I took out the food I planned on making, he had just gotten home. He greeted me and asked me if I had finished my work. I said no and he looked at the food I planned on making, the next words he said surprised me. He told me to let him do the food so I could finish my work and other assignments I had not done. That's the moment I realized that I was somewhat being inconsiderate. My dad, who comes tired after work and the only thing he wants to do is take a nap, was really going to take the time to make food, instead of relaxing like he usually did. I felt sick because I knew I could do better, I knew I could actually try and finish those assignments, and do them on weekends too. I tried to say no, but he insisted and that's when I knew that I had to try harder. We are in hard times, and seeing my family keep working hard, while I don’t even try makes me feel ashamed. Since then, I decided to try harder, change won’t happen right away, but I am going to get where I need to be.

© Fatima Andrade . All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.