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Dealing with High Pressure to Achieve

Dealing with High Pressure to Achieve
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.65

     challenging words:    highly-respected, pressure, exclusive, heartily, perfectionist, dilemma, natural, especially, skateboard, easily, attend, after-school, schools, liking, musical, freshman

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Dealing with High Pressure to Achieve
By Beth Beutler

1     Robert was feeling the pressure. Already a perfectionist himself, Robert also felt pressure to meet the expectations of his family.
2     From an early age, Robert had shown a natural ability as a musician. He started piano lessons when he was three, and now he was fifteen. For twelve years he had practiced, went to lessons, competed, and performed in concerts and recitals. His teacher had told him he was a great pleasure to teach because musical concepts came easily to him. His parents were always delighted to come to his recitals, and they basked in the praise Robert got from the audience each time.
3     For the most part, Robert did enjoy music â" but things had changed in the last couple of years. Once he was in high school, there seemed to be even more pressure to succeed because of the opportunities for scholarships and grants for college. His parents had expressed their wish for him to attend a highly-respected and exclusive music school once he graduated from high school. It seemed that as soon as he had started high school, his parents had begun to talk about college!
4     The challenge, though, was that Robert was starting to become interested in other things, like sports and an after-school business club. He wasn't sure he wanted to pursue music as a career. So, Robert had a dilemma. While he wanted to please his family, the extra hours of practice would cut into his opportunities to try other things. His parents were so proud of him, and although they meant well, they were pushing him.
5     "Robert, did you practice today?"
6     "Robert, are you ready for the piano competition?"
7     "Robert, did you finish the scholarship application?"
8     Robert just didn't know what to do.
9     One day, he was talking with his friend John, who used to play a lot of sports. Now, John was focused on skateboarding. He seemed to love it.
10     After John finished doing yet another 360 on his board, he came to sit on the bench next to Robert.
11     "John, can I ask you something?" Robert said.
12     "Sure. What's up?" John replied.
13     "I see that you gave up playing on several sports teams. Now you are focusing on skateboarding."
14     "That's right," John said.

Paragraphs 15 to 27:
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