11/04/2013 05:20 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Wait... I'm Smart?

When I was in fourth grade I had a teacher who made me think I was dumb. I was constantly forgetting what I needed for school so I wouldn't bring it home and then I wouldn't do my homework. She ridiculed me; sometimes in front of the class. I thought I must be dumb to be the only kid that has ever forgotten a book to do their homework.

Freshman year I had trouble writing essays for one teacher. She was strict and being in an honors course I thought that I should have been doing better even though I finished the year with a solid B. It also didn't help that my friend was a genius who would literally text me the night before our essay was due and ask, "What was the essay prompt again?" She would receive a 97 and I would receive an 80 even though I had revised and edited that piece for two weeks. The one time I got a 97 on a project that took me two and half weeks to complete the teacher asked how much help my mom had given me on it. I thought I must have been dumb because I got a B in my "best subject."

Sophomore year I had trouble with my essay writing again. To add on to that, I had problems in math even though I understood the concepts. But when you forget to carry the one, the final answer to the problem can get a little lost in the grunge work. I felt stupid at yet another time in my academic career. I didn't get it. In middle school I had honors in almost every subject yet now, in high school, I seemed to fall into the dumb blonde stereotype.

I am in a new school now and taking AP Euro, AP Lang, AP Biology, and marine biology and I am thriving. Going into it, I was nervous. I thought I would fail all these classes because my previous teachers had failed me and made me ashamed to try because I knew I was just going to get another 80 on an essay. It is hard. They are fast-paced courses and it isn't easy keeping up with all the readings and when my next lab will be. But I know now how much time I need to perfect that essay, and when to set aside time to meet with my tutor before my next biology exam. All the while balancing play practice and finding time to do the dishes when my mom asks me to.

I am attributing this blog to any kids that have gotten lost in the mix. Any adjusting freshmen, any lost kids in honors classes, and the hidden genius in everyone. I went through two years in high school thinking I was a little slower than the other honors kids but in this new environment, I can apply the experience I had received and my new-found confidence and say, "I'm Anne Hilker and I am smart!" We are all smart, and every fourth grader forgets their books sometimes.