How My Active Life as a Sophomore in the High School Became a Turning Point of My Life
The start of my sophomore year of high school was an important turning point in my life. The shift from my dynamic life in an aging Illinois suburb to a new city in Texas was drastic in my eyes. Even with my experiences of moving, I was washed over with my feelings of euphoria and anxiety. Earlier on in my life, I enjoyed moving to new places like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Since I was young and not deeply rooted in one place, moving to new cities was breezy. The morals I learned through my travels, however, are values that I continue to heed to this day.
Before high school, I thought that my classes were too easy. My parents considered me to be ‘lazy but smart’, blowing off homework consistently and not maintaining a proper work ethic, but still getting straight A’s in all my classes. With the amount of free time I had after school, my excuse was that I could apply myself better by practicing other things I loved to do, such as swimming and music. My parents felt annoyed by my attitude at first, but by proving that I could get good grades without a superior dedication, I helped in easing their minds.
Recalling my middle school days, sometimes I can’t help but think about all the things I could have improved. Maybe I could have joined the junior high basketball team, or perhaps I could have started to explore what I would do later on as a career. Nonetheless, from early on in my life, my parents always told me to, ‘keep moving forward.’
Starting Taekwondo, I struggled to keep pace with the more advanced students around me. With, ‘try harder,’ being a recurring phrase in the Dojang. Watching the 1st Dans effortlessly compete during their tests left me in awe, with the sight of them helping me prepare for the day that I would stand on the same podium. With my parents and instructors supporting me in this journey, gaining my 1st Dan black belt helped me prove that I, in fact, have a strong dedication, I just need to have more effort.
As I started high school, I tried taking classes that would provide an entry path to the majors I was interested in. Freshman year I attempted to focus on an engineering track, changing to computer science in my sophomore year. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect at my new school. At first, I thought I could get by as I had previously, pushing forth little effort, but still receiving high grades in all my classes. This was evidently not the case, as low marks in even my favorite subjects came as a shock. With growing pressure from my parents to improve my performance, I began to apply myself more in my extracurriculars as opposed to my actual schoolwork. While I was not happy with my grades by the end of the year, I was proud to say that I felt successful in clubs like Science Olympiad by reaching state levels in competitions.
A bigger surprise came when my parents told me that I would be moving to Texas in less than a year. At first, I felt anxious, the struggle of making new friends and starting a fresh life in a new state felt daunting. Reflecting on my attitude during middle school helped in pushing away these feelings. With the end of my freshman year drawing to an end, I began to formulate plans that would help me succeed in my new high school. I learned to take proper notes, alongside new study methods, these proved to be worthy in making my classes easier. I researched healthy habits and began to maintain an organized diet and sleep schedule. The most important change to me was the need to set a limit on my freedom. I tried to restrict my access to technology while studying while also restoring to not meeting up with my friends on weekdays. Altogether, these habits slowly provided results with me changing from a B’s students to all A’s.
Along with good scores, I began to feel more confident and outgoing with my new habits. Junior year I began to focus on a passion in STEM, with more classes ranging from computer science to Biology. To be honest, I still felt uneasy at times. Being in a competitive state like Texas, not being at the top of my class was demoralizing. In order to meet my goals of accomplishing something worthwhile in life, I needed to have started early in order to be successful, but junior may have already been too late. Optimistic nihilism is a philosophy I learned that helped encourage me in this instance. If it really is too late, how come it’s still possible to strive for this career? If every human’s life starts and ends the same, it’s really only the journey of their life that matters. Ergo, senior year I became dedicated to a Medical/STEM career. As I took more science classes in school, I also joined a robotics team that would help relieve my interest in engineering.
Looking back at my high school career, I feel conformity that no one is truly all they hope to be. I’ve truly come to terms that I was not a good student at the beginning of my 4-year struggle, but I am proud of my accomplishments today. Looking at the future, I now feel prepared for college and hope my newly learned morals aid me in my path to a doctorate.
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