A major obstacle in my education was attempting to keep up academically with students who had more support than I did in High School. Because I wanted to do well in school, and was attempting to apply to the prestigious Gatton Academy in Kentucky, I took geometry and algebra II early. The other students who did this went directly into calculus, instead of precalculus in the traditional way and I followed. My math abilities were behind those of my peers because they had extra support. We all had access to tutoring after school, but I often was not allowed to stay after too late and sometimes tutoring was overcrowded. Most of the other students who were taking calculus early had access to ACT preparation tutoring. They also grasped the calculus concepts faster than I did due to one-on-one sessions with the teacher and extra work at home, which led to the Physics teacher often teaching our table calculus based physics that I was underprepared for. Because I was struggling so far behind my peers in physics and calculus, I ended up dropping the courses. I had to take a general science course which was opened after half of the physics class dropped as well. This gave me time to step back and consider my goals for the next year, as well as time to work with the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team. During this time, a private college counselor offered to take me on for free, because of an article I had written in the Louisville-Courier Journal. She helped me figure out a schedule for my senior year that would show I was challenging myself and would fit my abilities and fulfill the requirements.
By Amanda Wahlstedt