Life in Junior High was easy. The day began with a sparkle, as the spot of meeting
friends, and attending class with fun-filled activities, come to mind. School was not
boring, it was fun because the teachers who cared made it fun. Knowledge learned from
school kept students focused and made students strive to keep learning. In those days,
“Gang violence” was unheard of.
From sixth grade on to the eighth grade, I maintained a 4.0 grade point average. I
honestly don’t believe that I am naturally bright, but I believe that the excitement within
school kept me motivated to get good grades. Thus, I was headed into the right direction,
a direction filled with hopes and dreams, thoughts and action, belief and reality.
However, the beginning of the ninth grade saw a drastic change. Due to
circumstances I had to switch school districts. No longer did I see my friends, I was like a
little duck lost in a big pond. There were different faces, different looks, and a different
feel. I can truthfully say that the first day of school was one of the worst days of my life.
I had never been so far away from my friends. That year, nevertheless, still saw me pass
with a 3.5 grade point average. Still, something was missing.
My best friends were all gone. While they were busy enjoying high school
together, by contrast, it was hard for me to make friends. I was so caught up at leaving
my old friends that being sociable seemed non-existent. I was insecure. While students
were talking about their summer vacation in class, I had my head down on the table. I had
nothing to talk about. Moreover, I was afraid that I could not “hang” with them.
The high school image was arduous to follow if you didn’t have the shoes, clothes,
looks, or even the hairstyle, then you could not “hang” with that certain “click.” I
absolutely hated my freshman year. During the summer after my freshman year, I decided
to change my image. I started to hang around with an Asian gang. I felt that if I could get
into a gang, then all the girls would like me and all the guys would respect me. That was
my idea. So I got in the gang. That was the biggest mistake of my life.
Consequently, being in a gang changed everything. I tried to act as hard as
everyone else, but it just didn’t fit me. My so called “hommies” would steal cars while I
just stood there, eventually getting into trouble with them. My parents would worry all
day while I partied all night. We would all go to the police station and that forced our
parents to bail us out. Not only did they have to cut time off work, I could see that they
grew immensely discouraged, terribly sad, and hopeless. They did not understand why
such a sweet young boy could become something he naturally wasn’t.
Further, this affected my schoolwork. My sophomore grade point average
dropped to a 2.0. I almost gave up school. It really felt like I couldn’t go on anymore. In
addition, I didn’t get the girls and people began to dislike my image.
My old friends hated me. I began to lose trust with my parents. I hated myself for
making a really stupid decision that changed the path of my life. Then came my junior
year. I dropped out of the gang and decided to start over. I strived for a 4.0, but ended
the year with a 2.8 grade point average. It was easy getting out of a gang, but to recover
back to my old self was the hardest part. Finally, the year ended as quick as the wink of
an eye and the scent of my senior followed. It was time to put the past behind, and focus
on a new era.
I feel that I have recovered back to my old self. My decisions made today are
thought over at least twice. I can feel my self maturing out of the shell that was wrapped
around me for so long. My family is the reason that made me change into a better person.
“It is never too late,” said my mother. And so my progress report came home. It was a
3.5! I never felt better about myself than today. I am working harder than ever before
and I plan to