May 30, 2012
By Anonymous

I heard the bell ring, and waltzed into class. My step was noticeably lighter, my back stood straighter, my lips curled more into a smile. Today was the day that I had daydreamed about--even yearned for-- since the fall of my junior year. It was my first day back at school after completing all of my AP tests. After carrying the weight of my world on my shoulders, rushing from class to class, religiously attending extra help sessions, finding time for clubs, community service, sports teams, and summoning that last bit of energy for late night and then early morning studying, I was suddenly unencumbered. It was as if I had jumped into a crystal clear pool of water and had just broken the surface for some air. I could breathe again.

From the moment I walked into school, I detected a hint of summer in the air. I smelled the grass through the open windows, noticed my classmates in their shorts and light tee shirts and heard the song of the ice cream truck as it cruised through the neighborhood adjacent to school. Maybe things had been this way for several weeks. Too engrossed in my studies, too preoccupied with my assignments, and too busy worrying about what had to be done next, I just never noticed. But today, for the first time all year, I went through the day smelling, hearing and seeing everything.

It feels odd to think that a year which had for so long seemed endless is now nearly over. Yet, so much has changed since the start. From those early days in September, during which I began my vigorous and thorough prep for the SATs, I have matured greatly. Back then, I had a more superficial grasp of the meaning of hard work and true grit, both of which I now believe can only be understood through real life experience. Nine months later, I am rich with experience. I scaled heights which months ago I was not at all certain I could attain, all the while challenging myself to not give up. Weathering the ups and downs of a heavy workload, and an especially disappointing and stressful Varsity baseball season, there were moments when I felt that I could no longer keep up, when I thought to myself, “Buddy, this is it; you are done.” But it was then that I found something to cling to, whether it be a vacation on the horizon, an accomplishment which made me proud, or just a plain old good night’s sleep.

And in those moments, I could hear my parents reminding me that through struggle comes strength and through adversity comes character. Like most teenagers, it isn't easy for me to concede that my parents are right, but on this point, I have to admit that perhaps they are on to something.

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