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My Summers

With a tremendous bang, the top of the port diesel engine exploded and smashed a huge hole in the deck, leaving a smoking crater and scattering splatters of flaming diesel fuel everywhere. As I tried desperately to think what to do, I suddenly felt a tremendous crack on my forehead as it smacked into something hard: the bunk above mine. I jolted awake and realized that I had been dreaming in the narrow bunk that was my home on the majestic pungy schooner Lady Maryland. As I rubbed my forehead to ease the pain, I glanced at my watch, which dutifully informed me that it was 1:57:29 AM on July 3, 2008. Two short hours of wakeful sleep were all I was going to get today, I realized as I rolled out of my bunk, stretching and yawning. I secured my life vest as I climbed up a creaky wooden ladder into the chilly night air and onto the slowly rocking deck to report for duty. Until dawn, I, in the company of the chief mate, was to pilot the ship through a night lit only by skyglow a few miles from the New Jersey shore, with merely a compass to guide me.


As I piloted the boat calmly through the five-foot swells, I reflected on how I came to be in that position. I remembered taking my SATs in seventh grade to make it into a summer camp that was run, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University, by an organization called the Center for Talented Youth (CTY). I remembered thinking that I was crazy to want to spend three weeks away from home on an old sailboat and a college campus studying whales (of all things), when I wanted to become an engineer. I spent a total of twenty days studying whales: nine days on the Lady Maryland and eleven days at the College of Notre Dame. It was the best experience I have ever had.


Looking back, I now realize how narrow-minded I was before that experience. I can only imagine the experiences I would have had if I was more open regarding new opportunities. From this experience, I learned that it is very important to always keep an open mind when you are given the opportunity to try something new. Here I now stand as a prospective engineering student with a newfound interest in marine biology; a person that has had the honor of piloting the world’s last pungy schooner through the most treacherous waters on the East Coast: Hell’s Gate; a person whose interests now range from music to politics, from building Legos to cooking, and it’s all because of the experiences I had on the Lady Maryland and at CTY. Now I always take advantage of any new opportunity I am presented with because I’ve learned that when you try something new, you discover something interesting about yourself, and you open yourself to all the experiences the world has to offer.



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petrofied23 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm
very nice work andrew
 
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