Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doing the Best I Could

Ever since the first day of kindergarten my parents have always told me “Tara, do your best in school. Remember your future reflects on what you make of your present.”

As early as second or third grade my mother would say, “Make sure you do your best, and get all your work done today” as we drove to school.

“Okay mom, I’ll try my hardest!” I said.

As I kept hearing the same thing every day my responses were with attitude.

“Okay geeze, you don’t have to be telling me this every day. I am actually doing really good.”
“Hey you don’t have to get attitude with me little girl, I’m just looking out for you.” she said as I rolled my eyes.

Every day after school our conversations were “Hey Rico how was school today?” she asked as I walked in to Monica Roybal Center.

“It was good” and I told her everything that happened during the day.
“Well that’s good. Do you have homework?” she asked as she looked deep inside of me with her big dark brown eyes.
“No, I already did it in class” or “No my teacher was nice to us today and didn’t give us any!” I said.
“Okay, you better not be lying to me Tara” as she checked my back pack.
“I’m not” I said
“Good job” she said as she gave me a hug. Then I went outside and played with all the other kids.

Throughout elementary my parents tried to push me to do harder in school, so for every A I got on my report cards, they gave me $5 and every B I got I was given $2. If I got a C or lower not only did I not get any money but I was in trouble on top of that. My consequence was being grounded. I got my TV, radio, or my cell phone taken away and I wasn’t able to get it back until the next report card came out. Every parent teacher conference that came up I always had a nervous feeling in my stomach. Throughout all twelve years of school I have only brought home two F’s. One of those F’s was in 5th grade, only because I was suspended for starting a food fight during lunch and I wasn’t able to make up that work. The other F was in 8th grade. I was just in a bad stage and I thought I knew everything so I never did the work in my classes. Wow, was I wrong. Never again did I mess around in school. But dang was I in trouble for those F’s. When I got suspended I was so scared for my life, just not knowing what to expect from my mom.

“Hello?” she said with a confused voice as she answered the phone like why is the school calling me?
“Mom, I’m being suspended from school!” I said as I was crying and shaking.
“What the hell are you talking about Tara? What did you do?” she said screaming at me.
“I don’t want to talk about it now, but you need to come pick me up.” I said.
“Ooh little girl, we are going to talk about it, I am not happy right now! Just wait till Jeff finds out!”

That conversation has always stuck in my head; I will never be able to forget that. Little did I know, I wasn’t in that much trouble, I just got grounded and lectured.

My parents have never failed to support me. I knew that if I ever had a problem, or needed help with absolutely anything they were always there beside me. That’s why whenever I got in trouble, or did bad on an assignment they always lectured me about the outcome of my choices.

“What were you thinking Tara?” or “why are you doing this half ass?” they asked.

I never really knew how to answer those questions, or I tried to explain to them, but they never really listened to me. Me coming out short was never acceptable to them. If I ever did badly on an assignment I would always ask my teacher if there was any way I could make it up, or earn extra credit.

High school was a different story. I always fell under peer pressure. It was a little hard for me to always do my work in class or even homework just because of the friends I hung around with. I was always called an over achiever or a teacher’s pet. So I was in that stage just trying to fit in with everyone. So if they were partying and not having a care in the world, then I was right there with them. Later on during my junior year I finally learned that I shouldn’t try to fit in with people who didn’t accept me for who I really am. If they couldn’t accept that I was trying to do the best I could to better myself, then I didn’t need them as friends, and that’s just what happened. My senior year I was at school for 5 classes, then I worked 4 days out of the week, or I was working on scholarships, so I never really had time for play, I was always busy.

As my parents were constantly pushing me to do better, it not only made me develop better as a reader or a writer, but better as a student in the class and as an adult in life. I can say that I have learned many lessons from my past.

As I was growing up it was quite difficult. I always had mixed feelings on how they were trying to raise me. Thank God I never went down the wrong path. I look back now and I truly appreciate everything they have done for me, and all the effort they put in just to help me out. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my parents. Where would I be right now if I never got that extra push?


  1. I really enjoyed reading your essay. All of the information was delivered effectively. However, those pesky genres keep getting in the way! Now, it may just be that I still don't have an exact understanding of a genre, but I'm having a bit of trouble identifying it in your essay. Other than that (and just a few grammatical errors), your essay is wonderful and was a wonderful read! I know I relate to it and I'm sure others do as well! Good job!

  2. You got paid for good grades?! I got grounded if I brought home anything less than an A! And an A- earned me a lecture! Lucky ;-)

    You've told a great story here, tara, but I'd still like to know more! Tell us about your mom more; what were her values, beliefs, and goals to so reward and punish you for good grades?

    And what did you get an F on to get you suspended? What genre's expectations were you failing to fulfill?

    That'll really bring this essay together.