Pain surged through my fingers as I persevered through the last sentence of my short essay question. The crackling of my joints echoed as I straightened up in my chair. The waning moments of the exam were approaching, and I had finished just in time. As I placed my answer booklet at the top of the pile, I was officially liberated from the AP Biology exam, as well as from the stress, worrying, and physical fatigue that trailed along with it.
Early in my junior year, I walked into the course knowing that science was not one of my strengths. As I knew beforehand that science was not even an option for consideration in deciding my future career path, AP biology seemed out of place in my list of classes. Over the summer, I had impulsively emailed Mrs. O’Hara, declaring that I wanted to take the science course. I decided that junior year was the perfect time to test my academic limits, and AP Biology would fulfill that exact challenge. It definitely did not disappoint. To say the least, there were many highs and lows. At times when I felt confident in my understanding of the material, a low test score dropped into the gradebook like a bomb, devastating my grade and my assertiveness. Not only did the course challenge me academically, there were also several times when I struggled to contain my panic, often because of stress over a test grade, and approach the difficult situation with composure and flexibility. Biology was the greatest source of the headaches I suffered during junior year, but I learned to use my resources to get by these minor obstacles and to catch myself before I fell.
Slowly, the end of the year was approaching and the AP exam crept upon us. I realized that my interaction with biology would soon come to an end and that I would go along a path that would bring me further and further away from the subject. I don’t want to be dramatic, because as a matter of fact I did not suddenly develop a passion for science because of my exposure to the course. Regardless, I found something valuable this year as I studied something that I knew was a particular weakness of mine, continued to challenge myself to persevere and master difficult material, and found some joy in doing all that. The reward of gaining something valuable - in my case, finding pleasure in doing something I had previously rejected - changed the route of my junior year from suffering to enrichment and maturation. Carrying this mindset as I approach senior year, I know that I will find joy and fulfillment amongst the chaos that will pervade college application season - a challenge that I now look forward to conquer.
One of the moments that I enjoyed most during AP Biology this year was going to the lab on the weekend to dissect fetal pigs and study pig anatomy in preparation for our practical exam!!