“She doesn’t try,” “She must not want to get good grades,” “She’s just lazy.” That’s what my parents and teachers always thought about me. Every time a report came home my mom would give that sigh, that look, and then of course – the speech.
“I just don’t understand. Why don’t you do your homework?” she would ask.
“I don’t know,” I would reply, every time.
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“…I just don’t know.”
I wasn’t exactly a bad student; I just never did my homework. I always paid attention in class and got good grades on tests. Whenever I did turn in an assignment or project, I aced it. Without regularly turning in my homework, however, my grades were consistently low. My mother never believed me when I said that I “didn’t know.” The truth is: I didn’t. I would sit down and try to do the work, with my book and papers and pens and pencils and everything else that I needed. The work just never got done. I really tried, and I wanted to do well. I hated being the one that never had a paper to pass to the person on my left. I have no idea what went through my mind when I sat down to do the work. Shouldn’t I think about what happened last time I skipped my homework? Shouldn’t I remember all the times I got grounded for it, and how much I hate not having my work during class the next day? Shouldn’t I remember how embarrassing it is when my friends compare grades and I’m the only one who doesn’t want to say?
My family began calling me apathetic. My teachers had given up trying to help me remember to do my homework. Everyone thought that I just didn’t want to do it. They were all sick of being confused, and so was I. So I began to believe them. I couldn’t figure it out for myself, so I let other people figure it out for me, and wound up depressed. My self-esteem dropped. I thought I was defective or stupid, even when my standardi...