Tell us about an experience in which you left your comfort zone. How did this experience change you?
Freshmen year. A full nine months of excitement, bigger lockers, trips to the mall and joining every extracurricular known to mankind, while marveling at every aspect of high school. Junior year is said to be the hardest obstacle undertaken by a teenager; seniors are simply "on top of the world," and love every minute of it. I skipped over sophomore year because most people's minds tend to ignore that year. To most, it's the least exciting year and yet I managed to wrangle an experience that I believe has definitely changed me.
The 2008 class presidential election was decided and I was sworn into office by a single phone call. It was the start of October, around the time that class lip-syncs started for the pep rally; every year, two class officers have to join and I knew that I was not volunteering for this. I am a horrible dancer. No questions, no comments. When I'm dancing in front of my friends and they make fun of me, I tell them I'm not really dancing... I am a horrible dancer.
Two weeks later I found myself at my friend Bree's house, practicing for the lip sync. No other class officer stepped up and as class president; I had to do my duty. Unfortunately.
As we were making dance moves, it was clear I was on a different page than everyone else. I stepped the wrong way, used the wrong hand, didn't put enough emphasis in the steps, didn't execute right, didn't didn't didn't! Why am I wasting my time and effort when I'll just make myself look stupid as well as my class? But there was no one to take my place, so I did the only thing I could do; start using the right foot, the right hand, the right amount emphasis, the right amount of execution. I showed my friend the finalized dance routine and she nodded her approval. I was no Janet Jackson but hey, I got all the moves right.
Minutes before the pep rally was to begin, I had knots in my stomach and all my fears came out, so I quietly had a mental freak out. Once it was out of my system, I was ready, someone opened the doors and we walked into the gym, prepared to dance like there was no tomorrow.
Our group split into two groups and ran to opposite sides of the gym, I heard "...you're all I ever wanted, you're all I ever needed" come from the speakers and we moved in unison; stepping and swaying and in no time it was over. I ran outside the gym, relived it was over but extremely satisfied that I followed through.
It may not seem like a great, life-altering experience and it wasn't but it helped me look at myself and see the depths of what I can do. I was watching Invictus, and the character of Nelson Mandela talked about pushing one's limits and expectations for one's self. I realized that this is what my experience made me do. I realized that it's okay that I don't know how to do everything and that when I don't, I can overcome it. I surprised myself and from that point, there was no turning back; I wake up every day, demanding respect for myself and the only way to do that is surpass what I think I can do. So I take the hardest math class available, I try out for the travel soccer team, I lead the Model UN conference and more importantly, I lead myself.
I am thankful for that experience in my sophomore year of nothingness, thankful that it has bolstered my personality and mentality for the future.