All of the 4 am’s, all of the tears, the migraines, and the dried out contacts. All of the timed essays and 2 mile runs. All of the anxiety, the jump-splits, the messy rooms, the meetings, the tardy passes, and the standardized testing.
All of the belly-laughs, the applause, pre-show rituals, the 89.5 A-’s, the dancing-until-your-ears-ring, the smiling faces at a successful event, and the pure joy and pride of simply being a high schooler.
All of the hours studying at Panera, the concerned mother knocking on my door, the lunches spent in the Library.
The high standards and expectations. The drive to exceed them all.
It has all been worth it.
My world, for the past four years, has been 15 hour school days. I come from boisterous Tech Week dinners, make up heavy with mics strapped on. I come from 2-mile runs at tennis conditioning, the motivational shouts from my teammates ringing in my ears. Piano lessons, featuring bruised fingertips and an aching neck, late in the evening, lips still sore and breath still short from wind ensemble rehearsals. Skinny jeans pulled over sweaty legs, post-dance practice, rally towel in hand, running to get a good seat at the big basketball game. Lunch time collaborations and commissioner meetings. Delivering pre-game pep talks and strategies from behind a fence.
A world where I keep book quotes plastered all over my walls to keep my chin up. Where I watch science videos and slam poems to keep my head straight.
The history of my world dates back to 1998 before I knew about a world beyond my own. It was then a place where learning to read came in the form of Disney song lyrics on karaoke nights. Stargazing came in the form of reading anything from Star Wars encyclopedias to Scientific American articles. Summer vacation plans came in the form of summer programs, because, even at nine years old, I couldn’t imagine a whole two months outside of a classroom.
This world in its entirety has taught me that hard work and joy have a perfect, positive correlation. I had never been afraid to send my goals to the sky, even if it meant I had to build a rocket to shoot myself towards them.
I have been building that rocket. We all have. We build and build and maybe we don’t know if we’re shooting for Mars or the next galaxy, but we strive for something greater. Every hour of the day we add another bolt or panel to our ship, and we are one step closer to take off.
And well, my rocket for this stage is almost complete. My world that I have been living in, the vibrant world I described above, filled with color and wonder, will soon be left behind in a grand display as I take off for my new home.
This new home is a place where I had only dreamed of going. A whole new planet where I can begin to build my world once again.
T-minus 286 days to launch.
– Isabela Angus || Stanford University, Class of 2020