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A problem for some can be like a river slow moving and easy to get through. For others it can be a vast ocean, rough and seemingly never ending. All problems are different and there is always going to be one particularly difficult, one for the records. I had one of those problems, a battle that I felt like I was losing right till the end. No challenge in my academic life would be as big as the one that I faced two years ago. That challenge was initially physics the class, then it grew into something much larger heavily involving the teacher.

Sophomore year of highschool I took physics as my physical science because It seemed interesting and fun. It started as that, a few challenges here and there but easily solved. As the class went on everything suddenly got too difficult, beyond the point of understanding. I noticed how fast I was sinking into this ocean of a class and how fast the storm was growing. So I did what any student would do and attempted to get help from classmates, and my teacher. I started to ask questions yet nothing was clicking. As my understanding lessoned my classmates understanding grew and their understanding led me to stop asking questions letting the storm in my head grow. It got to a point where my parents had to have a meeting with my teacher who also didn`t understand why nothing in my brain clicked. My progress sunk more as my confidence lessoned and my willingness to keep going faded away. I felt as though I was closing my eyes and sinking into the storm that I could no longer handle. I thought things couldn`t get worse, then the unimaginable happened. My teacher fainted in class, was taken to the hospital to find out he developed brain cancer. I was surrounded by my crying classmates standing there, numb. I couldn`t feel any emotion, I was too shocked to cry. I sunk into the deep dark depths of the ocean. I thought I failed the class and myself. Days after dealing with my friends attempts to comfort me and help pull me out of the ocean I was drowning in I had an epiphany. I told myself that my teacher needs to see that I can do this. This strength, determination, and confidence suddenly took over me. I asked questions, studied harder, did everything I could to pass. While my classmates disrespected the substitute and no longer wanted to learn I was swimming out of the ocean of disbelief and self loathing. I got to land, I completed my challenge, I passed the class, while gaining back confidence in myself and work.

That teachers name was Michael Smidebush and on January 15, 2017 he died of brain cancer. He and his class helped shaped me into who I am today and what I want to be in life. He encouraged me to pursue things that I was never naturally gifted in. I will always be thankful for that, it pains me every time to think about it because he never got to see the super confident and good student I grew to be just because of his class. That challenge truly changed me, something that I thought would break me really saved and prepared me for the challenges to come. Like I said before a challenge can be as easy as a river and as rough as the ocean. You either sink or swim.

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