Monday, July 20, 2015

Looking Back

Back where it all began.
Just weeks ago I boarded a plane bound for the east coast of the United States. I left home as a young man with no real foundation in my future and in what I actually wanted to make a career out of. Originally, my main goal was to just enlist in a branch of military service instead of an attempt to apply to college. I left home pretty absent minded in what kinds of colleges were out there, as I was strictly secluded into thinking that the only colleges that were going to take me were the UCs. Little did I know, that in the course of only 3 weeks, that that would all change.

My desk wasn't always so dirty
For many years, I've been so acclimated to classrooms with lower academic standards. Needless to say, I was one of the "top dogs" in a small kennel. Upon arriving in Columbia, I realized that I was rather a small chihuahua in a caged filled with Labradors with a lot of bite. Bearing witness to the higher standards that these kids are set to made me upset. I asked myself questions pertaining to why were these kids somewhat "smarter", was it the higher academic standards, or was it the inner thirst to learn? I wanted an answer, but now wasn't the time to find it.

There were nights where I only had a few hours sleep. There were nights of pure frustration due to the heavy load of homework and the juggling between ILC related criteria and school. Needless to say, I prevailed. The frustration and sleeplessness did take a toll on me, but I'd say it was a positive one. As a result of all this, I found myself managing time more wisely than before and I saw an significant increase in my work ethic. I've developed my fundamentals in public speaking and debate. And thanks to the help of Michelle Chun, found a great love for constitutional law.
Back home!

Floor Buddies!
Although it sounds like all work and no play, I had an awesome time with many new friends. I'll never forget staying up until sunrise with my floor, playing card games and loading up on pizza and Insomnia Cookies. Or getting lost in the streets of Harlem while on a Monday night jog with my floor buddy, Kevin! I'll never forget how we always got high......on laughter!

The most memorable moments I've had from this trip were always with my cohort. Whether it be sticking a tampon up my nose (don't ask), getting my eyebrows plucked, my fingernails painted, or getting lost in Times Square, it was a grand time regardless. We created our own little family; Izabel being our dad, Deborah being our mom, and Alyanna and I being the two obnoxious kids. The fact that we all came from different schools only made our bond stronger. Everyone had something new to contribute to our group discussions and it was really interesting to get a glimpse into the different realms of each other's high schools.

I came home a completely different person. I had changed physically as I had surprisingly dropped a few pounds and mentally. This trip taught me the huge importance of time management, responsibility, and double espresso energy drinks on a late night cram session. The taste of the college life helped me build my sense of independence from home and my sense of responsibility. My confidence has soared beyond the skies along with a knowledge in my constitutional rights!

Most importantly, I returned home with a mentality to change some of the issues back at home. I may sound blunt, but after working with many of the students on the east coast, it became obvious that the standard set for us students in the WCCUSD is too low. I'm not trying to start an anarchist revolution, but rather to make sure that our voice is heard to ensure that the bar is raised so every West County student can compete academically on the national and international scale. I firmly believe that just because a student comes from a less privileged background, it doesn't mean that they have to think like an idiot. Anyone can be the next Aristotle or the next Thomas Jefferson, they just need to be able to be held to that standard so they can aspire to be like one.

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