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Letter to Me: Fight or Flight

Joined: 8/27/2011
Posts: 6
Remember seventh grade math class with Mr. R? Squirming uncomfortably on the unstable wooden chair, you desperately searched through your mind for a fitting response to a question you knew no answer to. You glanced up at your teacher only to be further distressed by his stern expression of expectation. After a few minutes of irrelevant drivel, he interjected with his signature clearing-of-the-throat. With a cliché sigh of exasperation, he said firmly, “You’re clearly not meant for the honors class. You’ll probably struggle throughout high school. Especially junior year.” Suddenly, as if you were drowning, you felt the urgent need for air.

Remember ninth grade Algebra with Mrs. C? You entered the cramped office and tiptoed around the papers that had been thrown carelessly on the ground as you made your way to the tattered couch that waited expectantly in the corner. Your teacher sat across from you in a chair whose metal legs’ glare distracted you as she enlightened you of your inadequacy: “Although you’re in the honors class, you can’t seem to maintain the grades. You’ll probably survive these next two years, but you’ll struggle junior year.” And suddenly, as if you were drowning, you felt the urgent need for air.

Remember tenth grade Chemistry with Dr. M? Your head spun as you unwillingly trudged up the winding blue hallway towards the classroom. Your knees trembled as you waited an extra ten minutes outside the room for your unpunctual teacher. When she finally arrived, she apathetically informed you of your inability to grasp the so-called-simplicity of science: “You aren’t keeping up with this course. If you can’t handle this class, you won’t be able to manage junior year.” And suddenly, as if you were drowning, you felt that same urgent need for air.

Now, here we are. The year they warned you about. The year they predicted your failure. You’ve heard the horror stories; the heaps of homework, the agonizing assessments, those satanic SATs. As you ponder the challenges of your forthcoming junior year, you’re overwhelmed with that familiar faintness; that feeling your pediatrician describes as “anxiety-induced asthma”.

Now, remember that one-day in chemistry class when your teacher digressed from the curriculum to discuss a biochemical response to stress? “Fight-or-flight”, she called it. She described it as a rush of adrenaline that heightens your senses. Your body can sense danger and instinctively puts your mind into defensive mode. You either flee for your survival or fight for your life.

So, which is it going to be? Are you going to run from what you’ve feared since middle school? Or, are you going to fight for what you’ve wanted since the beginning of your education? Will you succumb to those skeptical teachers who doubted your abilities and fulfill their prophecy of failure? Or, will you rise from the depths of hesitation and finally attain the success you’ve craved since they first dared to doubt you?

Remember, you’re in control. You have the power. You make the choice.

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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Letter to Me writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 8:02:26 PM
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
I wanted to personally let you know that your essay is the WINNER from our August 2011 writing contest.

I will, also, be in touch with you via the email you used to register for Stage of Life. I'll work with you on getting your address to send out the prize package.


Thanks for sharing your voice on We look forward to reading more of your viewpoints on the site!
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 1:43:31 PM
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Comment by sophtar

Joined: 8/27/2011
Posts: 6
Thank you so much!!
Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 11:49:19 PM
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
I just wanted to let you know that we featured your essay on the Stage of Life Facebook page today. If you would like to check it, out go to

Feel free to share the news with your friends and family. You're famous! :)
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:38:05 PM
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Comment by crazy_purple_daisy_98

Joined: 8/22/2011
Posts: 4
Wow... you're essay is amazing! You totally deserved to win! Great job!
Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2011 1:53:15 AM
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Comment by melissapasta

Joined: 2/1/2012
Posts: 7
]i love this story!!!:D congrats,it was so nicely and well written [/color]
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:40:04 AM
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