Even when you prepare, sometimes inspiration doesn’t hit until the deadline. It’s risky, but you should follow that inspiration anyways.

Scene: Early 2000s, I’m a high school senior, working on my IB/AP English 10-page research paper on Anna Karenina (For those unfamiliar, IB→International Baccalaureate / AP→Advanced Placement. IB is like AP on crack.)

I just received my rough draft mark-up from my IB/AP English teacher.

To train us how to “properly” write a term research paper, the process was broken down across the entire semester. The topic I chose at the beginning of the semester never inspired me and my rough draft proved it.

The week before she returned rough drafts, I learned about Freud and his theory on the Id, Superego, and Ego. The characteristics perfectly aligned with the main characters in Anna Karenina.

I told my English teacher, “I hate my rough draft and I’m rewriting my essay from scratch.”

She looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I was sure. It would be my one chance. No revisions. (She was NOTORIOUS for being a harsh grader. Rarely gave out As)

As a musician, I couldn’t enroll in the official IB English class during first hour because I performed with Wind Ensemble at the same time. I got special permission to enroll in 3rd hour AP English instead.

The day our teacher returned research papers, I entered IB Biology during second hour and one of my friends just started slow clapping. The rest of the class joined.

I froze. In my mind, I’m thinking, “WTF is going on?”

Turns out, I achieved the impossible. Of the entire senior IB/AP English program, I received the only A.

Changing your plan at the last minute is a risk; but sometimes risks pay off.