Independence. This year, I grew a lot. It started off with planning a trip across the country with my friends. We didn’t have anybody else help with the arrangements. We came up with the idea, planned it out, and enjoyed the entire journey. (Discord and dark chocolate hot chocolate are such god-sends.) We booked our plane tickets on a spur of the moment decision and planned our schedules so that everything would work out. For some of us, it was the first of many firsts.
Legacy. I then went on to lead my last MFD. I knew that whatever I did, the coordinators following me would look towards my year as an example for what to do. I did my best to plan everything out and record everything so that they would have references after I graduate and leave the MFD fam behind. It was the garden that I would never get to see.
Failure. I dealt with a majority of it on my own. A lot of questions about my past decisions arose and self-doubt settled in. I wasn’t happy, but I kept moving forward and kept my chin up even though at the time, it felt nearly impossible.
Success. I made it through my AP exams and couldn’t have been more proud of myself the second I finished the last problem on my last AP exam ever. I attended a ton of banquets and was recognized for my work. I saw and felt the impact of everything I had done. I did it.
Judgement. A lot of people (including friends, under and upperclassmen, teachers, staff, and parents) asked me about my future. If they didn’t have the guts to ask me, they asked my friends and family. I didn’t know how to deal with it. The spotlight that I worked so hard to achieve became too bright for comfort. I shied away and gave vague answers. I knew people were talking about me.
Celebration. It was the end of the end, the last of the firsts and the last of the lasts. It was such a sentimental month. I wasn’t too sad knowing that I would keep in touch with the people I truly cared about. I saw old friends who I hadn’t seen in a while and said goodbye to those I had only just met. Everything was bittersweet. Everything had a sense of finality.
The Future. I knew that the time to decide was now, so I chose not to settle. I wanted to prove to myself that I was meant for bigger things. I knew deep down that I could do better. I can achieve more. I can make it. I wanted to say those words and know that they were true. I trusted my gut instinct, so I made a decision that changed my life. I’m proud to say that I am still working toward that dream.
Time. It was only a matter of time.
Alone. I was alone, but I found a sense of comfort in that time that I was alone. I became more productive and self-driven. I became content with how far I’ve come.
Routine. I hit the routine again. I drove to school and took care of myself. I learned that I had to relax and treat myself once in a while. Life was hard. It could have been worse. I know that I could have worked harder. I could have studied more. I pushed myself and looking back, I know I could have done better.
Accident. I dealt with my first car accident. I dealt with unreasonable strangers, distractions, mistakes, insurance companies, and the police. I was told that I looked young for my age, but my mind was numb and I couldn’t respond and I couldn’t help thinking that I just felt so tired.
Drive. I pushed myself so hard that month. I did everything on my own and am so proud of the outcome. I dropped any feelings of self-doubt and went out and put my best foot forward. I wasn’t fazed by failure or disinterest. I kept going. I waited in long lines and by the time it was my turn, I could barely recognize myself. I was unstoppable and unbelievably confident in my abilities. Yes, it was exhausting, but it was certainly worth the effort. I left knowing that I had gone above and beyond in driving my team, made a ton of connections, and become more ready to deal with failure.
Connections. I met a ton of people. I had visual proof that everybody felt like a failure at some point in their life. I wasn’t alone; I had found a family and sense of community within a crowd of strangers. The karaoke sessions, the dance floor, the car ride, the late-night talks, and the seemingly ordinary conference room. I came back as a different person.
Fate. Sometimes you meet people who are as ordinary as the guy who takes your credit card when you order boba. But then you start talking to people outside of necessity and they become so much more. We are all dreamers of dreams and bearers of mistakes.
Waiting game. I’m waiting for the next big move, the next big plan, the next big thing. It’s only a matter of time.
I don’t view failures as success even if I learned from them. I view failure as a reminder of what had been and what doesn’t necessarily have to be in the future.