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The Cube This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Cross that off of my bucket list! I had spent the past four hours sitting glued to the green leather couch in my living room. The screen of the laptop had me mesmerized. Nothing else in the world seemed to matter. My eyes felt heavy and beads of sweat began to form, but I could not stop. I ignored my parents’ pleas for me to go to bed.

“Danielle, it’s late, go to bed.”

“C’mon, Danielle, you can come back to it in the morning.”

I would not let anyone or anything get in the way of executing my task. The YouTube videos I watched instructed me to start with the green cross, so I did. Then, I moved on to correctly complete the first side. Little did I know how challenging this undertaking would become. As I repeatedly messed up, and had to restart multiple times, I was positive that any normal person would have been banging his or her head against the wall. I just took a deep breath and powered through.

Slowly the middle layer began to line up. I jotted down the different algorithms to ensure I would not forget what to do the next time I attempted this. I had watched the videos so much that pretty soon I would be able to quote them word for word. Again, the wrong turn set me back five steps, but I was not about to give up.

The last layer was the most complicated. I made sure to check twice before twisting the Cube and moving every piece. My heart started to race. The pieces were all jumbled, but I was imitating the video instructions exactly. Four hours later, everything clicked into place; I had solved the Rubik’s Cube!

The Rubik’s Cube used to be a mysterious puzzle that I had only heard stories of people completing. Then, about a year ago, I saw an assortment of cubes at my friend’s house. There were triangular, two by two, and seven by seven cubes. When I asked him about it, he picked up a three by three cube and solved it right before my eyes. I was awestruck! Someone actually could do it. Right then and there I decided I, too, was going to conquer the Rubik’s Cube.

After that first night of sitting on my couch cross-legged for hours, I was rarely seen without a Rubik’s Cube, twisting and turning in my hands. I memorized the many complicated steps, slowly weaning off of my notes and decreasing my completion times. Now if I do the Rubik’s Cube it only takes me a little over two minutes! I can even create different patterns, like a flower and a checkerboard.

The same persistence and determination that I demonstrated with the Cube applies to my academic and extracurricular lives as well. Last year, I took physics and struggled to succeed on tests and the engineering-like projects. One term, I received one of my worst test grades. Then, something inside of me clicked. I sought help from my teacher and a tutor. I was determined to succeed, and ultimately my final grade reflected that.

Also, our school has a program called Peer Education, which involves a select group of upperclassmen helping to positively influence students. I applied my junior year, but was not selected. Disappointed, I asked what I could do to improve. I was told I needed more leadership experience. After more experience as a camp counselor, soccer referee, and basketball coach, I entered this year’s application process with newfound confidence and achieved my goal of Peer Educator.

With that last click of the Rubik’s Cube, I had changed my life forever. I know I can do anything I set my mind to, and I will not stop until I succeed. My bucket list is one step closer to being completed and that mysterious puzzle is not so puzzling anymore.

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