Journal of a Junior Pt. 2: Start the Clock

I remember my first all-nighter in vivid detail.

Little Ashley–So Young, So Full of Hope (AM Montgomery 2015)

I was fourteen years old. I had only been in high school for a few weeks when my 9th grade Literature and Composition class was assigned a detailed chapter-by-chapter, character and theme analysis project of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

I disliked the book. It began to get depressing so I started to ignore it instead of reading it on my afternoon hour-long bus ride. I figured I was a fast reader but the due date for the project snuck up on me.

The night before it was due, I hunkered down in front of the family desktop computer, located in a dining room corner. I resolved to finish the book then start the project. No biggie.

A few hours in, I started to get sleepy (it was way past my bedtime) and realized I was nowhere close to being done. Around eleven, the rest of my family started to get ready for bed and my mom offered me help once again. I refused. I was in high school. I had to do my own work.

I finished the novel (the ending was even more depressing) in the wee hours after midnight, and with a small, quiet panic, scraped together mediocre chapter summaries and analyses as required by the rubric.

By the time I finished (oh I was done alright), the sun was beginning to rise, and so was Mom. She looked at me with pity (a lot of my childhood stories involve looks of pity). It was five o’clock in the morning. My bus was supposed to come at five thirty. She offered to let me sleep an hour before she drove me to school. I took her up on that one.


I felt exhausted the entire day. Worse than that, my classmates were fresh-faced and well-rested. Not only were their projects creative and complete, most of them looked like they hadn’t even broken a sweat to get there. I felt ashamed of my work and vowed to never turn anything in as unfinished as that ever again (it lasted until eleventh grade; I disappointed Hernanny with a grossly incomplete Gatsby project).

Procrastination and failure terrify me. I remember my mistakes (big or small), criticisms (teasing or not) in vivid detail years later, and usually this is enough to motivate me to start early and do well. My classes, this semester, seem to be an entirely different game. I stayed up until 6am today re-writing from scratch my twenty-page “Science Writing” piece; every week, I wait with bated breath to see if I accomplish what my “Editors and Authors” and “Drawing” professors want (I almost never do). My friends are a bit disgruntled because I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks (working on papers and spending every small snatch of free time binging on Netflix alone, less thinking involved). I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been and probably not very healthy either, given my recent sleeping pattern and eating habits.

I know giving up is not an option even if that’s what twenty-one year old Ashley wants. Fourteen year old Ashley, though–she would find a way. When the going gets tougher, so do you. Only five more weeks until the end of the year. Think I can make it until then?

Another Blogger’s Pic

Favorite Song of the Week: I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers


Ash M. Monty

[Imported from


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