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I come from a place where the Sears Tower dominates the glitter of the skyline, the glorious silver Bean lives, and the notorious winters leave us all to witness weather that would even have Demeter herself question the decision of her revenge: the Windy City. You will stand in the middle of downtown and see a plethora of not only towering buildings, but people from all walks of life. Most importantly, you will see that most people are coming off of the one system that keeps the vast, bustling city together- the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). Trains roar and busses speed past the cars, all carrying stories of a diverse group of people all wanting to leave their mark on the world. There you will also see me every morning and every afternoon with my hour commute to school.
Approximately 1,560 hours of my high school career have been spent either standing on the blue platform or getting lucky and finding a seat hoping that my backpack would reside itself comfortably on my lap but never reaching this goal as the strong breaks would have it launching through the air. You really cannot have the best of both worlds here but that is perfectly fine because my commute has given me a lot more.
Come with me on my ride through Chicago.
The Foster and Western stop holds the anxiety of my first day of school and my clumsy fall as I accidently shoved a senior who did not get mad. He rather smiled and told me about his first days at Lane and the amazing experiences I would have there. By the corner of the Science and Industry Museum, the bus is filled with my apprehension of the City Fair judging and the collaboration with a group of people who all wanted to use their experiments to make a change. I met a senior who planned on finding a new treatment for colon cancer through RNA and a girl whose dream was to build the perfect artificial pancreas. They all had stories behind their endeavors, and they fueled my energy for my scientific research. By the Blue Line in Jefferson Park, I was greeted daily by the beautiful harmony of a violin playing by a budding artist. On her side stood a young teenage boy who profoundly stood for the Black Lives Matter movement and delivered poetry that woke you up to the reality of inequality that exists today. The Ashland bus knows the story of my first real scientific failure with cancer research but it also knows my perseverance through it as I remembered the people I had met back at the City Fair. Subsequently, it also literally holds my success after perseverance when on the side of the floor there lies a copy of my gel electrophoresis that I had accidently dropped. The Addison bus I take every morning is filled with the laughter of me and my friend and our multitude of feelings we have for the day we were about to step into.
Through the CTA I have met audacious writers, budding singers and future scientists. I have unequivocally spent my high school career in a commute that has given me more than just a ride, but a background of experiences, stories and my own history in the city. My stories and experiences lie all over Chicago and the commute tends to be an unnoticed entity. However, it holds the pivotal memories of my past and present which without, would have left me with a different perspective from what I have now. It has shaped me to become a person with more than just my own perspective: one who comprehends others as well, in the Windy City and beyond.
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