We crave the human touch, relationships, fun, but the most fatal thing that we crave is money. The material thing that we love will come back to do us harm. Money brings luxuries-endless luxuries and financial stability. All of this will ensure a happy life that is filled with food, clothes, and sports car and jewelry. But most people who are lucky enough to enjoy this life will probably at one point choose the wrong crowd and the wrong people and will be overpowered by the power of money that will bring them the ultimate devil, drugs.
As a student, what I crave is some kind of rewards that will reflect my hard work. In middle school, I worked really hard to achieve straight A’s, in order to get medallions at the end of the year. I didn’t understand what it is about a piece of medal that was made in China. TO me, it was literally gold and I felt so powerful just to hold it and call it mine. I remember the assembly of sixth grade when I was nominated to get a medallion by my teacher. I was ecstatic when I received the letter. I even showed it to my ELA teacher asking the content of the letter, of course I was just asking to make me feel better, because I already knew what it was. I remember walking up the short five steps stairway with my math teacher, Mrs. Menz, and when we finally reached the center of the stage, she held out the medallion and gently placed it over my head. Then at the second part of the assembly, I was awarded with another medallion. I was so proud of myself as I walked up and down the amphitheater with two medals clanking around my chest. My first year of middle school went really well, to say the least. In seventh grade, I worked just as hard. Again, I was nominated by a teacher, but by my English teacher this time. During the assembly under the boiling sun, I was anxious if I was really going to get the award because at least ten other people were nominated as well. It was time for the teachers and their chosen students to get in line…my English teacher stood up…she called out to another student, a girl named Cindy. My heart sank to my stomach. I knew I was good enough…so why wasn’t I standing at the stage with my teacher, all proud and smiling? I try to keep the anger from boiling up. Eventually, I was called up to get the 4.0 straight A’s medallion. That’s a great achievement, but I wasn’t happy. I got one instead of two. You could see a shadow over my face, as if the sun was radiating on other students, and ominous clouds crowding over my area, threatening to rain. Nonetheless, it was summer so I didn’t seem to care anymore.
Then there was one left…Eighth grade. I didn’t want to walk out empty handed. I vowed to get two medallions this year. I even transferred to a different P.E class just because with my miles time with this one teacher, I would not get an A, and therefore be excluded from the 4.0 medallion kids. So I did it because I felt so uneasy if I did not get that medallion. I even had dreams about it. I even told my friend that I “couldn’t wait till High School” so that I won’t have to worry myself about these stupid medallions. At the end of the year, I even lied about my community service hours in my club, National Junior Honor Society, just so I would be legible for a medallion. I had to do it. My mind told me to. Flashback to 8th grade assembly, my last assembly. My goal was two medallions- I KNEW I was getting it. But there was one more I yearned for…the science project medallion. My dream was quickly crushed as my name wasn’t called out. However, my mood quickly skyrocketed when I was called for my 2 other medallions I worked “hard” for. I felt a little bit of guilt when I received my NJHS community service award knowing I cheated. But so many other people did it as well, so what’s the harm? I continued to look toward the audience with a smile. “I” did it. I was exhausted with how much mental work it was. I also I realized I changed. In 6th grade, I worked hard because I wanted to prove myself I was worth it. I was working hard to see the progress I made from a “fresh off the boat” Vietnamese girl to a successful “American”. I didn’t want that label around me anymore. But then I became greedy. I was materialistic. I was the monster that I created. In a way, I plateau’ed. There wasn’t much progress after I reached the “Honors” level. I was no longer trying hard as I should and I felt no inspiration to do so. But in Freshman year English Honors class, one of my goals was achieved. I was sitting in front of this girl, J, who I had class with in 2nd grade, when I first came to the U.S. I remember asking J a lot of questions in Vietnamese as I was new and didn’t know what was going on. One time I remember she got fed up and told me off, “Okay whatever, why don’t you ask the teacher?” My inner devil winked at me when the same girl who refused to help me practically begged me for my help in English.
Moral of the story: I know it’s hard that sometimes you can’t tell what success looks like because it isn’t in the forms of a promotion or a silly award but you have to understand you are working at a long term goal/success. My medallions are still hanging (still proudly) on my computer desks, clanking away every time my printer is cranking out papers, but they are absolutely useless. But I can’t deny that these medallions still feel amazing to wear on days that I am sad.