On paper, I am a somewhat average student with a less than average attendance record.

I am not industrious enough. I don’t turn in every single homework assignment nor arrive to school promptly every day. Some days, I am unable to give my undivided attention to the given task at hand.

I remember telling a teacher I was shooting for an 1800 on my SAT. She told me to go for a 1500. I once told a teacher of my dreams for college. He reiterated how college just wasn’t for everybody. I recall going to some in search of comfort, but being reminded I wasn’t Latina enough to take pride in my heritage, not mature enough to be considered an adult, not proper enough to be considered a woman.

Focusing on all the things I was not contributed to a restless and unhappy outlook on life.

Still, I resolved to ignore others’ impressions of me. I have been self-sufficient since the seventh grade. I’ve been the youngest in multiple work environments and still did a better job than many of the adults surrounding me. I failed an English class, but received one of the highest reading and writing test score averages in my grade.

This essay was written by a participant of the Teen Voices Rising program of WriteBoston. It first appeared in the publication Teens in Print.