Davenport Central High School, Davenport
I walked into my mother's familiar classroom side by side with my two best friends from childhood. Just being there brought me comfort but having them there by my side made it that much better. It was the day after we had all finished middle school without one another, and I was at a low point in my life. It had been two years since we had attended school together at Quad City Montessori,but we always returned for the annual year end tradition of the reading of “Oh, the Places You'll Go.” Each year, the kids graduating from Montessori would receive their own copy of the colorful picture book. I thought back to the first time I heard the story. I was in first grade. I entered my mother's classroom and quickly scurried over to the green carpet, eager to sit with the "big kids". I sat squirming in anticipation for I loved your stories. Soon my mom began to read and I was mesmerized by the rhythm of her voice and the colorful pictures. As my mother finished the last line, "Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way", I saw something that astonished and confused me, tears were running down her face. I quickly glanced around and noticed the graduates in tears as well. I was dumbfounded. Why would people cry about your funny picture book? This year, as a visiting eighth-grader, I hung on each and every word as my mother began to read.
Sitting on that familiar green rug, I realized these words rang truer than ever before. At Montessori I was "soaring to high heights" but all too soon I found myself in a "prickle-ly perch". Two years previous I had moved on from Montessori and began my new chapter at a large public middle school without my two best friends. I was excited to grow up, but all too quickly my feelings of excitement withered away and became feelings of longing for my old friends, my old teacher, even the "old me". I apprehensively entered middle school, and when a group of girls quickly opened their arms to me I didn't think twice. After being with these girls a few short days, it became apparent to me that they judged people purely on superficial qualities. "Do I dare to not fit in? How much could I lose?" It wasn't long before I found myself so desperate to fit in that I molded myself into the person I thought they would not judge. I began spending my time and money on my appearance. I wanted to make sure that my hair was just right, that I had the latest boots, and that my jeans were the correct brand. I even felt like I had to have the right hand sanitizer! It was all consuming, and whether I realized it or not, at the time it was affecting all aspects of my life. I wasn't getting enough sleep because each morning I had to make sure that I got up early enough to do my hair and makeup. I wouldn't go to morning swim practice because if I did I wouldn’t be able to straighten my hair. Soon my redeeming qualities gave way and I became an insecure shell of the person I had been. I realized though that on the outside I fit in while on the inside I had never felt more out of place. "I was alone whether I liked it or not.” I found it hard to talk to people at my new school about anything meaningful, anything with substance. "I was stuck in a slump and un-slumping myself was not easily done." Each day I found myself headed to "a most useless place the waiting place," waiting for a situation to bring us closer or waiting for a situation in which I could shine.
I waited for best friends or even to just have plans on the weekends for two long years. Then one day middle school was just over. In my mind I had wanted to leave middle school with a fleet of best friends at my side, tons of inside jokes and a bucket full of memories that we shared. In the end I left middle with a long list of superficial acquaintances and an even longer list of insecurities. I walked out of those middle school doors feeling alone and defeated. I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible; because I felt as if I were there any longer the sorrow I felt on the inside would also show on the outside. In my mind the last day of eighth grade was a sort of theoretical deadline. I thought that by that time, I would have felt like I belonged, but I definitely did not.
So there I sat, with high school just months away, listening to my mom read the last line "So...get on your way" I felt as though all my worries and insecurities were leaving as each tear slid down my cheek. I realized that I was the keeper of my own destiny. I decided that I would finally find my way out of that waiting place. I realized that I had never taken the initiative to become closer with people; I thought that if they wanted to be my friend they would make the first move. On I continued and I decided I would bury my insecurities. "I would face up to my problems." I would surround myself with positive influences and work to strengthen my friendships. I had to remember "life's a great balancing act." On that day I realized I was not alone in my struggles, I talked to my childhood best friends and we had more or less had to face many of the same problems. Still to this day, I go to Montessori and sit on the familiar green rug to hear the annual reading, and each year without fail I find a way to relate your story to my life. Now whenever I feel alone and dejected I breakout “Oh, the Places You'll Go!”
And I will succeed? Yes! I will indeed I
(98 and% percent guaranteed)
I'll move mountains!