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A smile breaks out on my face as I sit in a picturesque shopping area in the heart of Vienna, Austria. The spire of a Gothic cathedral towers over me, a reminder of how far away my home and family are. I will be leaving Europe tomorrow, so I am going to savor the next few hours in a foreign land, away from tour guides and crowded museums. The unfamiliar sights and sounds fade as I reflect on the circumstances that led me to this wooden bench. I went against the grain, I suppose, first in choosing to be one of the few students from my middle school to attend Central High school instead of my home school of Northwest High. I believe that making this decision four years ago at Nathan Hale opened the doors to life-changing experiences such as achieving a goal of visiting Europe.
In order for me to accomplish this hefty goal, I had to get a job and acquire enough money to pay for the trip: food, transportation, guides and all. Balancing a 15-25 hour per week work schedule with classes, homework, school/church activities, and home responsibilities was difficult, but definitely worth it. I earned some of the best grades I have had through high school, even obtaining a 4.0 Grade Point Average in my months of scrambling for money and time. The strengths I showed in achieving this goal affirm what I can achieve in college. Determination, self-motivation, optimism, and simply being able to budget income all are valuable traits to have in life.
Since that busy junior year, I have been offered an assistant manager position by the Omaha district Sonic Drive-In manager. He told me I was “the best employee we have,” and when I declined the offer because it would have required me to work more hours, I was given a raise instead, and my college savings continue to increase. I am still active in my church youth group, and I belong to the Art, German, and National Honor Society clubs at Central. Baby-sitting three of my younger siblings is still an everyday occurrence, along with such household chores as cleaning and cooking.
In 10 years, I see myself out of the fast-food industry (even though I work at a restaurant where one can rollerblade at work). I will have graduated from college with a degree in whatever field or fields that I eventually choose. I have so many interests that I am having a hard time deciding on a major. Restricting myself in any way would be a disadvantage, especially since students today change their majors so many times. College will help to lead me in the right direction, and I will succeed in any endeavor. I do have some general ideas for the future. Travel, which lets people experience unfamiliar places, is a particularly rewarding activity. English class and literature are fascinating, and I also enjoy expressing myself in art. I love crafting with my hands, using my creativity to give ideas shape. I also enjoy studying life on earth, reveling in the endless variety of the creations that surround me every day.
My inquiring mind drives me to learn. My ability to become comfortable with and meld into any situation – or rise to any challenge – helps me in any activity in which I take part. From camping in the wilderness for two weeks, to repairing homes for a week in a small low-income town, or getting lost in London’s Underground: these are just some of the unique experiences I treasure, experiences that left me with good friends and wonderful memories. I make the best of every circumstance that presents itself, and I try to learn from it while having a great time.
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