I sat at the kitchen table with my grandpa, my feet dangling from the chair, and colored for hours. At five years old, all I wanted to do was to color perfectly within the lines to please my grandpa. And I did just that. After all, that’s what I was supposed to do, right? Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to please everyone whether it was measuring up to the pressures of society, my parents, or the standards set by my older brother. I lived my life coloring within the lines.
The lines in the coloring book quickly transformed into the lines on the soccer field. In sports, especially, I never wanted to make a mistake. Every shot had to score. Every pass had to be perfect. In every drill and in every game, I gave the last bit of energy in my body until I had nothing left. Once I joined travel soccer, my future was instantly laid out for me. I would practice my heart out three times a week and travel hours to play games on the weekend, but I was willing to do anything for my love of the sport. Looking to continue my soccer career at the next level, I eventually played college showcases. But something changed. I felt confined within the lines.
During my freshman year, my infatuation for travel soccer began to fade, and the sport I loved was tearing me down. The practices and games dragged on endlessly. I found myself wishing for the season to be over. Soccer was beginning to feel like my job. The thought of not enjoying travel soccer anymore terrified me. Soccer was my whole life for so many years, but I finally realized it wasn’t making me happy anymore. So I left. I left right before recruiting age. Trusting myself enough to leave made me realize that I knew what was best for me, and I don’t have to conform to what people think I should do. As difficult as it was, I learned to step outside the lines.
The decision to leave travel soccer taught me to no longer fear setting my own path. My newfound confidence eventually led me to break away from the traditional walls of my high school. For my senior year, I have been accepted to the BOCES New Visions Program, a program that will allow me to shadow doctors throughout the year, giving me an insider’s view into future careers in various healthcare professions. This track is unlike the typical high school schedule in that students direct their own learning paths for half of the normal school day. I will be able to challenge myself and pursue passions beyond my comfort zone. By trusting my instincts, I am empowered to accept the challenge of a different type of learning.
Looking ahead to my college experience with a clear vision, I am excited to experience all that the Honors College at a public university has to offer. The Honors college empowers students to choose their own paths through a wide variety of courses. My personal growth has empowered me to find my path through the pursuit of my passions including community service. I’m not sure where my path will lead, and I’m okay with that. Regardless of the direction I take, I believe that college will provide the resources I need to continue to grow as a person and to impact the university community positively. I have learned that I have the power to determine my future. As I move on into the next phase of my life as a college student, I will continue to color boldy outside the lines.