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Anais Vionet Nov 2022
We’re on-high - in Lisa’s (parent’s) 50th floor penthouse in Manhattan. The sky outside is a cloudless, blinding powder-blue, infinite and reflective as liquid. A TV news helicopter flew by under her window a few minutes ago.

If you don’t feel God-like looking down on the world from her living room, then you’re probably an atheist. Peter was with us and as we stood, looking out on Central Park and NYC from her balcony, he was suitably impressed by it all - from the chopper ride in from New Haven to the opulent digs.

Peter’s a poor (he exists on a meager stipend) doctoral student from Malibu, California. He grew up simply, in a rustic, one floor, three-bedroom cabin that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. He never had a smart-phone or cable TV growing up and only got glacially slow Internet in high school. He says he really lived in the ocean. His most prized possession is his 70s “Bing Bonzer” surfboard that stands, like a priceless, Egyptian relic in his dorm room.

We got a vibe switch when we came inside and 2Pac’s “Hit ‘Em up” was absolutely airhorning from the stereo system. “Westside, Westside, Westside,” Lisa and I joined in the chorus and clumsy-danced by reflex. Leeza, Lisa’s younger sister, saw us and ran over for a group hug with Lisa and me.

Lisa’s little sister’s 13 now and boy, is she a new-teenager. Her long, deep-red hair, which now has fluorescent blue ends, is tied-up in a ponytail revealing a buzz-undercut. Leeza had just gotten home from school and had already changed from her school uniform to ripped jean shorts, white socks and a black, 2Pac sweatshirt - which her mom reported she wears every single day. When her mom manages to launder that, Leeza rotates to a Jets hoodie - although she’s never watched a football game in her life.

“I’ve got a worried mind,” I confessed to Peter, later, as we were scrunched together, me half on his lap in an easy chair. He gave me a consoling hug.
Our grades came out earlier today and I got an A- in Physics 3. I crumbed in the face of classical mechanics. Is an A- who I am? Yeah, I guess so, and I’ll have to give myself an “F” for dealing with it. I suppose I’m acknowledgeably challenged.
“Can you appeal it?” Peter asked, he was trying to be supportive, but he knows that’s a ridiculous notion.
“It’s a male professor,” I said, “maybe I could send him a voice message and cry,” I updog.
“That would be HOT,” Peter said, in a dream-like whisper.
“Uhgh,” I groaned, “It’s emotional manipulation, it’s NOT ******,” I explained, creeped out.
I haven’t talked to my parents yet. They’re in Poland and don’t know my life is over.

“You deserve to embrace your awesomeness, stand up for who you are and reject the status quo.” Peter offered, “I dare you,” he finished, unable to keep a straight face. “But seriously, you’ll fix it after the break,” he offers in hope.
“Yeah,” I say, somewhat unconvinced, “I know.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Crucible: a situation that forces someone to change.

updog = when you supply your part of an ongoing joke
Anais Vionet Jul 2022
It’s May 18th, 2022. I’m poised, alone, heart pounding, in front of my laptop, waiting for courage, my finger hovering over the return key, like a child hoping the timing of my keystroke will bring me luck.

I took this summer off - which drove my mom absolutely CrAzY. “You CAN’T!” she’d said last month, only to be overruled by my Grandmère. Now I’m home for summer break and tonight she’s flush with exasperation.

“You should have applied for a dean’s fellowship,” she said, her voice rising as she rubs her hands together, as if scrubbing for an operating room procedure, “and a summer research position!” She’s practically twirling with suppressed emotion.

I get why she’s upset. She only goes “deep end” when she's worried about my future. She knows what’s needed to get a medical school slot in 2025 like other moms know their favorite recipe - after all, she’s done this twice before.

Leong’s upstairs, avoiding this family scene. When I described my family expectations as “hustle culture,” to my roommates, they all understood - we’re that much alike.

Step (my stepfather) is trying to de-escalate and calm us (her) down. “Look,” he says, holding up his hands like someone talking down a gunman, “NEXT summer she’ll buckle down, get in more volunteer hours and get a dean’s research fellowship” he says, sliding his eyes to me. I nod “ok” almost imperceptibly. “It’s ok to start grinding sophomore year - that’s what I did.”

OOOO! She turned to him and if looks could ****, he would have exploded like someone in a Tarantino movie.

By some psychic grace my Grandmère chose that moment to call. Step and I fled the den like it were on fire, going our separate ways to halve the chance of being followed.

In my dark room, lit only by the light of my MacBook, a quiver runs through me, and I finally press return. My grades for Spring semester - and Freshman year come up. My eyes water and I relax back against my chair when I see “Dean's List.”

I smile to myself, and slowly, fiercely I clench my fist with a “YESS!" As I postulate my victorious reprieve.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Postulate: “assume an idea.”
Anais Vionet Jan 2022
I may look like a cheerleader - but I really am a cheetah
and after they pass those tests out - I’m going to beat ya.
I heard a student say, in the cafeteria near where I sat
“They really don’t expect us to read all of that.”
and I chuckled to see the many headshakes of agreement.

Don’t these people know that this is really an arena?
I was accepted to Yale before I finished ninth grade and now
I’m surrounded by these “A” types who think they have it made
- until I eviscerate them with curve-crushing grades.

Learning is a passion, an exhilaration and release.
The last place on earth, that you ever want to be
is sitting in a classroom, competing against me.

“How’d the test go?” He asks.
“Oh,” I shrug and say, “I think I did ok.”
Let me translate that for you, “I made a feekin’ A.”
*We just got our grades, and yeah, I made the Dean's list.
** feadant: slang for bragging shamelessly
Something fierce for your Saturday morning -  I’m overjoyed *shrug*
Valya Oct 2021
My head is spinning
Everything's running loose
I can't remember the last time I won
I've just been failing all of my mere tasks
Am I going to plummet even faster
Or will this just be the rock bottom
I climb up from
I literally have 1 good grade ffs and my love life is in shambles and like so much other **** and i just hate life so much rn
Jeanmarie Feb 2021
Sitting there, heart racing, time ticking,
You try to remember, but you just can't.
Everything you spent your night trying to memorize
Seems to be erased from memory,
Palms start sweating, hands start shaking,
You can’t make out the words typed
Boldly onto the paper,
Everything is becoming blurry,
You keep trying to replay last night
In your mind so you might
Be able to get a couple right,
But instead you are faced with only
Half a memory,
The answers are covered with blanks,
You can’t remember.
It is time to accept the destined fate.
A student’s living nightmare
Is not getting a passing grade.
mimi Jan 2021
Good grades will get me into next year.
Then be able to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
I wouldn’t have to worry about student debt
Because it’d be covered by a scholarship.
I could finally get into an Ivy League Law School,
Get the credentials for a high-paying job,
And have a family I’ve always dreamed about.

But does having good grades make me happy?
Do I find any joy on not getting to sleep,
Trying to figure out what x+y equals
Or writing essays on Abraham Lincoln?
We all know I’m never using this in real life.

So sorry I’ve failed you mamí,
But a 9-5 job isn’t the life for me.
Sometimes I feel like moms try to live their lives through us. I get they want us to do better than them but what if that's not the future for us?
SophiaAtlas Jan 2021
Would any body like to adopt my grades?
Cuz I can't raise them myself.
Mansi Nov 2020
We need to stop
telling young children
that their worth comes
from the letters
on their report card

Too many children
are slowly
killing themselves
trying to measure up
to society's
unrealistic expectations
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