Q: What shape is a mineral?

Crystal Habit: crystal habit is the external shape of a mineral. Crystal habits are influenced by multiple factors, but one of the most prominent is the conditions (room, temperature) that the crystal grew in.


I don’t remember when I moved to New York or when the elementary school in the suburban upstate town told me that my speech disorder required no more help.

I do remember, however, doing a reading test in 8th grade. Where all I had to do was read aloud from an essay, and the woman who was testing me looked surprised when I ended.

She didn’t need to say anything. She didn’t say anything. The timer blinked zero: zero zero in digital digits and I had only read 1/3 of an essay I knew in my gut most people had finished.

The rest of the year, my social studies teacher specifically called on me to do readings aloud in class. Each time he did it I was sure it was the test. I was sure he had been told I was a bit slow to transition the words I had read to the sounds I could make.


Zoe and I sat diagonal to each other in a grouping of 4 desks for AP Biology. Our teacher was wandering around the room with his head hunched over to read names on the tests he was handing back.

Mine was face down on the desk. I had only glanced at the grade before hiding back away. The number in red was satisfying enough.

Zoe asked me what my grade was. I shrugged. I told her it was fine and that I was happy with it.

I didn’t ask Zoe what her grade was. She told me it was a 95, anyway. She told me that she was failing. She told me that a 95 wasn’t good enough.

And I knew, at the time, that her sense of failure for getting a 95 on a test was just an echo on her own expectations and self-worth.

But also, at that same time, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my 93 made me even more of a failure. That I would never be good enough for the sciences. That I would always be a failure.


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