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There is a certain type of rebellion that is advantageous. It is the curiosity that cannot be tamed, the courage to challenge authority, and the tactfulness to make things happen. It knows no bounds, for the ambition exceeds personal potential. Dynamic in nature, this rebellion dwells in the realm of dreams, waiting to be put into action. Safety and comfort may intercede, and indeed they may overcome it, but for some people the rebellion is so strong that it cannot be hindered despite the obstacles.
I was born adventurous, but I was also born into a rather mundane family, featuring my dad as the boring businessman and my mom as the stereotypical “soccer mom”. My brother and I, however, were different from our parents, much to their discontent. We were like Bert and Ernie; we did everything together. By far, we had the greatest influence on each other, but not necessarily a positive one.
Chris was two grades above me, and in his freshman year of high school, he started to find his own sense of adventure. Drinking, smoking, and hanging out with friends were his escape. In middle school, I naturally started to follow him down that path. I never really thought twice about my actions until the end of seventh grade after the food fight.
My class was stuck in a state of perpetual one-uppery. I remember there was a contest to see who could get the most detentions in one quarter. Probably the most remarkable thing we did as a class was that we conspired to have a food fight on the last day of lunch. Pudding and mashed potatoes flung from plastic spoons, fruit and biscuits thrown from my best friends, and of course the do-gooders who dashed to the side of the lunchroom to avoid getting in trouble were just a few aspects of the grand, edible war. I was a fruit thrower, and I unfortunately hit the supervisor, Mr. Stark, with a banana.
“You think you’re tough? You think you’re better than the rest? Invincible? Hmmmm? Well you’re not, and you have so much more potential than this.” Mrs. Killmartin, my science teacher, pulled me aside and informed me where I would end up if I continued down the path I was. For some reason unknown, the talk really struck a chord with me; in my very next year I succeeded with flying colors: I became class president and got straight A’s. What a quick turn-around will and motivation can produce.
My freshman year I continued to get straight A’s, yet I found myself wanting to be challenged more. I needed some adventure again. Luckily, I was good friends with two people who encouraged me to apply to the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC).
KAMSC was revolutionary. Whereas I used to simply go through the motions and not be completely engaged in the material, KAMSC forced me to be, and I became immensely interested. Being in an environment where everyone was intelligent and curious was the productive solution to my case of rebellion. In particular, math intrigued me, especially calculus. I decided to take pre-calculus the summer after my sophomore year so I could take calculus my junior year and multivariable calculus my senior year. It was challenging, but I am happy to be where I am now.
While Chris claims to have had a spiritual revelation, I had more of an academic one. Looking at my past, one might have thought I was headed down the path to destruction, but I view it as an outlet to my curiosity, the curiosity that over time sparked academic endeavors. Call it maturity, or call it reason, I now guide my “rebellion” into scholarly progress rather than destructive escapades.
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