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I’ve always gotten in trouble for failing to do my school work.

When I was in second grade, my teacher once called the principal when I refused to do any work in class. Even that didn’t help. It only secured me a detention.

I was stubborn, and I was arrogant. I believed already knew the material, so why did I need to do any more work?

As I got older, I didn’t get better at doing my work. I got better at avoiding it. The stubbornness and arrogance slowly faded, replaced by apathy and pure forgetfulness as my depression began to manifest.

By the time I entered high school, I had stopped caring about both the material and my performance.  Even in the brief times that I did, I often couldn’t remember the assignments.

Despite all of that, I never let anyone know or sought out help. It didn’t matter yet — my scores on tests and in-class work were good enough that it never mattered if I failed to turn in most of the homework.

It became harder and harder to care about anything, including myself, let alone my performance. And as I slid farther and farther, my performance worsening as I went, it became harder to justify spending any effort on what seemed to be a lost cause.

College only made all of these issues even worse. Now, I was no longer accountable for my actions. So long as I was gone during the time my classes were held, my parents never knew what was wrong.

More than one semester, I ended up with one or even no classes by the end. I still came to school. My parents would drop me off, and I would go sit in the cafeteria for an hour or two while I waited for the end of a class I wasn’t attending so I could go home.

I’ve only recently managed to pull myself into some semblance of functionality.

I reached out to friends and family for support. I talked to my doctor, started seeing a therapist and started taking antidepressants. I came out, which may have helped more than anything else.

But that doesn’t wipe away the time, money and the effort of others that have been wasted over the past few years. And it doesn’t mean that I’ve entirely fixed my problems, as any of my teachers could tell you. I still have a lot of work to do to get myself into shape.

It’s much easier to do things better the first time around, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Time constraints, lack of skill, other commitments or just all-encompassing depression can make things seem so impossible as to not be worth an attempt.

But no matter how bleak things may seem, no matter how much time you think you’ve wasted, no matter how far you seem to be from the finish line, success is always an option.

It may be a long, hard journey, but it’s possible. And it will be worth it.

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