Hitting the Reset Button.
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
2016 was a year of exciting highs and depressing lows. It felt like I started my life over, hitting the reset button as I watched myself became a different person.
The year had started off normal, as I began my last semester as a junior high school student. Nothing too high, and nothing too low. Things just felt average. There just wasn't a sense of satisfaction with how my life was turning out. But then, as that semester progressed, there were several times where I just felt as if I did not belong in the community that I was in. I was one of the kids that would compare myself to my peers, and it just made me feel average because I did not feel comfortable inside my own skin. On top of my lack of self-confidence, a series of scandals involving my closest friends ultimately led to the complete destruction of our core friend group, which caused my inner circles to stray apart. I still talked to most of them of course, but it was never the same.
Committing to AOC
Pressing the "commit" button on my email invitation to attend AOC was one of the most difficult decisions that I ever had to make. I actually stared at the screen of my phone with my finger hovering over the button for over half an hour before I ultimately made the decision to commit. It meant that I would be moving away from all of my childhood friends, and to instead attend a school with around 400 people TOTAL. However, because of my time in junior high, I felt as if I needed to be apart of a new environment. AOC was an opportunity for a breath of fresh air, simply because it was a reset button. Nobody could haunt you about your past, because no one knows who you are. You are who you create, and I was drawn to that. I hoped that going to AOC would allow me to discover who I wanted to become, and discover how I could grow into that.
Going to Boston
Finally, I was going home. I ended the summer by returning to my hometown roots in New England. My family and I went to New Hampshire, Maine, Boston, and New York City. Some highlights included: touring Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and Boston University, visiting my first house in the forests of New Hampshire, eating clam chowder in Boston, visiting the 9/11 memorial and scaling the Statue of Liberty. I also toured the Basketball Hall of Fame, watched the New England Patriots practice and almost getting Gronk's autograph, went to the beaches of Cape Cod, hiked and trained in my home town, and venturing out late in Times Square.
Setting Goals, Becoming a New Person
I went throughout the summer with a lot of self-reflection and a lot of mental release. I wasn't satisfied with how my life was turning out to be, and so I started to examine everything that I wanted to change and how I was going to do it. It was a long list that I won't go into detail on, but for the most part it had to do with my self-confidence. I began to eat healthy and to lift weights because I wasn't happy with my body. I began to read more and to watch Ted Talks because I didn't feel like I knew much, despite the fact that I had always excelled in academics. But most importantly, as I navigated my life, I learned to not think. Not literally, because obviously that's crazy. Instead, I started to act without overthinking, a cancer that kills your confidence and sets you up for failure. I learned to act and to not think about how I could fail, what could happen to me, or whether or not I could succeed. I approached my goals with that mindset, and it changed everything for me.
Entering a New School
Going in, I was completely surrounded by people I did not know. For the first few weeks, I felt very uncomfortable and I found it difficult to make friends, especially coming off of a period of broken trust and lost friendships. As time had passed, however, I began to understand the importance of attending a middle college high school and the potential impact that the school can have on my future. Throughout the year, I also watched myself grow mentally, where I became more outgoing and found new comfort in breaking down with friends. I began to embrace my peers and I started to feel at home. My self-confidence grew immensely, and it completely transformed my life, making goals suddenly easier to attain and making tasks in my everyday life so much easier. As I venture in 2017, I look forward with a positive outlook on what my academic career at AOC could become. I'm absolutely ecstatic for what's to come, and I hope that my spring semester as a freshman will be a great one!