So it’s that time again... Seniors narrowing down on possible colleges, Juniors beginning to study and prepare for the college entrance tests, and Sophomores and Freshman exploring possible areas of study... but are you ready?
Every student, in every town, in every state, goes through this process. Parents and teachers encouraging you to explore your options, and maintain that GPA, raise that SAT/ACT score, give it your all on the field, join a new club, start your first job, but are you able to juggle all of these tasks? Are you on track to make that dream application? Are you ready to jump from the nest, to soar onward towards excellence, or are you worried you’ll fall out of the nest into a downward spiral?
This tedious process is what you have spent your entire life striving for. That day in third grade where you cried in front of the class because you didn't know the answer to that seemingly simple addition problem on the chalkboard, or that research paragraph you failed in fourth grade because instead of providing facts about a bee, you got caught up trying to draw the proper stripes of the bee on that over-sized notebook paper. These moments changed you. They made you grow, stretch, scream, until you were forced out of your comfort zones and into the process of maturation.
You went from that shy kid in the kindergarten class who hid underneath the table when asked to introduce yourself. You went from that naughty kid in sixth grade whose traffic light was almost always on red. You matured. But are you ready?
Everyday you continue to grow. You meet a World War II veteran while volunteering at the local hospital, and he shares with you that at age 16 he joined the armed forces to fight for the freedoms that you are just beginning to comprehend and cherish. You make a new friend who shares his experience living without his mother who had died in a drunk driving accident while he was just two. You grow beyond what the textbooks have taught you. You see the world no longer from the surface. You begin to absorb the rich soil and the nutrients that life has to offer. You grow.
Growing doesn’t happen without pain, in fact pain is required to grow. You see the full cycle of life before your very eyes. Your brother gets married, and together they bring a baby into the world. You become an Uncle. Your Grandmother gets diagnosed with cancer. You become broken. You see your life beyond the textbook. Beyond the grade. Beyond the score. You feel pain.
The pain is good. The growing is good. The process... is the process. Do you fight it? Do you give up on that class that you just can't seem to pay attention in? Do you settle for a lower score than your original goal? Do you walk past the kid that is sitting all alone at lunch? Do you let the pain, the struggle, dissuade you? Or do you fight, pushing onward? Life is full of pain, but pain is good. It is time to focus, to believe, to dream, and to never settle. Are you ready?