Rank is Only a Number

My leg shook frantically as I gazed at the college pennants lining the walls of my guidance counselor's office. The bold writing printed confidently on the flags was enough to intimidate me as I read the name of each individual school. Ranging from the Ivy League to our local community college, I hoped my transcript would be impressive enough for any of them to accept me.

Smiling as he slid the paper across the desk, my guidance counselor claimed “This is extremely impressive, you won’t be disappointed.” Glancing down at the writing that summarized the past four years of my education, and inevitably determined my future, my eyes raced across the text to find the number that seemingly defined me - my class rank. Expecting to see anything in the top twenty five, my heart sank deep into my chest as an “impressive” number stared back at me. My voice cracked as I managed to stifle a mere “Oh, thanks” before shamefully grasping the paper, tucking it beneath the pile of notes in my book-bag, and racing out of the office. As I entered the empty hallway, the thoughts running through my mind were loud enough to fill the silence. My eyes stung with tears, a knot forming in my throat, as I wondered what my friends, who all had class ranks that soared above mine, would think of me. I knew that, despite the sleepless nights I spent trying to decipher my math homework, or all of the afternoons I had passed by reading a textbook, I was no longer Miranda Argyros, a dedicated student - I was a two-digit number.

Returning to class, I filed through the stack of papers in my book-bag to locate my transcript. Pulling the crumpled sheet from beneath my notes, I glanced at the students around me to assure nobody was watching as I smoothed out the paper. Refusing to allow my eyes to meet my class rank, I instead skimmed over the list of courses I had taken throughout my high school career. I began to smile as I reflected on freshman year English, which began my passion for reading, and inspired me to major in English. I remembered honors chemistry, and how my

classmates and I held study sessions, made (what felt like) an infinite amount of flashcards to study for our Regents, and laughed until we cried when none of us were able to recite the answers we had just written. Lastly, I recalled AP Language, and how I made some of my best friends because of that class, assembling our group chat, “ethos, logos, and pathomies” which we still use to this day. A sense of relief washed over me as I recognized that each class I had taken further developed who I am as a student, and as an individual, which a class rank could never portray.

Returning the transcript to my bag, I was no longer disappointed with my class rank. Reminiscing on the courses I had taken proved to me that, while my class rank may not have been exactly what I expected, my high school experience, and who I am as a student, could never be summarized by a two- digit number. Something so brief and impersonal could not possibly encompass the highs and lows of a high school career. I realized that by next school year, as a college student, I can carry the lessons I learned, and the bonds I formed with my classmates and teachers with me through that exciting, new journey, and my class rank from high school will be insignificant. Walking out of school that day, I held my head high, with a new perception of my class rank - I may have been given a two-digit number, but more importantly, I am Miranda Argyros.

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