Where I Belong

Let me take you back two years to a bus dripping with rain and filled with forty-some singing high school sophomores from the Academy of Science. We were on the island of San Salvador because only at the Academy of Science do we go to the Bahamas for a field trip.

When we got to Gerace Research Center, we found our living spaces amid the pouring rain. After a long day of traveling, it was comforting to be settled in one place, even if it would only be for a week. That night by the girls’ dorms, we played Ninja in the rain and Imagelearned how to “dougie,” because why not? At least, that’s what the others did. I mostly just watched, hoping that this trip would be all that they said it would be. It was more.

I’ve always been reserved. Maybe that was because I lived in another country for the first nine years of my life, and American culture was still a little foreign to me. Maybe that was because of my bookworm tendencies that led me to find the characters in novels much more welcoming than the real, flesh-and-blood people around me. But either way, I had found that in my main circle of friends, I was always “the smart one” or “the responsible one.” I didn’t truly connect with my peers because I always knew I was different from them.

And then I went on this crazy field trip with a bunch of nerds. I considered them my friends, but the fact still remained that I didn’t know most of them very well. For the first few days, I was distant, as always. On the fourth day, the sun came out, and that is when everything changed.Image

I have always connected with the sun. Maybe it’s because I was born in a sunny place; maybe it’s because the sun epitomizes everything that I find beautiful in nature. But when the sun came out that day, it filled me with an overwhelmingjoy. And I let go of everything that was holding me back. I was singing and dancing and praising the glory of the sun. I was a completely different person than I had been before, and I honestly think it scared my friends a little. In that moment, I didn’t care if I belonged or not, and I finally let go of the fear of showing my true self to people.

Over the next few days, I bonded with my classmates even more, from our games of Capitalism on the basketball courts to complaining about mosquito bites and the sand in our diving suits. My friends laughed with me when I chased all the stoplight parrotfish with my underwater camera instead of sticking to the buddy system. And I willingly offered my shoulder as a pillow to anyone who had need of it, whether that was on the rides to the diving sites or waiting in line to get snacks. I did this out of love for my friends and not because I thought I needed to, the way I might have before. That made all the difference in the world. Image

Before the Bahamas trip, I had recognized how different I felt from most of my peers, and that kept me from connecting with the people at the Academy of Science. I was used to not belonging, so I didn’t know how to let go of my reservations. When I went to the Bahamas, I bonded with people who were like me. For once, I was an equal. I wasn’t the only smart one, and I finally had a place to belong. That place was with my newfound nerdy friends.

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 * * * * * 
That was my main Common App essay, and I decided that now that the whole college application process is over, I can safely share it with you all. I also shared it because today I had the Commencement for the Academy of Science, my beloved nerd school. The reality of leaving still hasn’t hit me; I’m in denial about the whole thing.
 
 
As some people have already mentioned and as more will continue to mention, “It’s not goodbye; it’s just see you later.” But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a little bit of a goodbye. I won’t see these people every other day anymore. Sure, I’ll find new people who will hug and gush about nerdy topics with me. And this is nothing against all the other people I’ve met over the years. You all are amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without any of you. You all have touched me in so many ways, and I’m so incredibly thankful.
 
But I will always have a place in my heart for the incredible people who were my home for 4 years. 
 
Epylle Spydre
 
(All pictures taken by yours truly)

“I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life,–momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright and energetic and high. I have talked, face to face face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in,–with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.” ~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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And Here We Are, Stuck Moving Forward

So I’ve never done this before, but I decided to try the WordPress DP Challenge. It’s titled “The Golden Years.” Since I just got into college, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, and I thought this would be an appropriate time to blog about my “golden years” but with my own spin.

So this is going to sound really random, but for Christmas, I asked for a time turner like the one Hermione has in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was obviously a joke, but as they say, every joke has a ring of truth to it. Because honestly, the ability to go back in time would be really amazing. First of all, I would be able to do so much all while getting a wonderful night’s sleep every night. And second of all, it’s the closest thing you can get to stopping time altogether. 

Have you ever thought about how wonderful that would be? Just stopping time and letting all your worries drift away like autumn leaves on a cool brook. Do you ever wonder how much we would notice if time didn’t exist? How would we live life in a world outside of time? I mean, I realize that life isn’t just about comfort and safety, and that a life well lived is one that races time, a life lived on the edge, living every second like it could be your last. 

So I have a bit of Peter Pan Syndrome. I don’t want to grow up. Or really, I just don’t want to say goodbye to the people and places that I’ve made my home with. I’m okay with growing up; age really is just a number to me. I just don’t want to say goodbye. 

But alas, life is full of goodbyes, and I can’t stop time. Time turners don’t exist, and I’m stuck moving forward. So what do I do? Live life. Race time and show people every day that they have meaning. Or at least, I’ll try to. Carpe Diem and Hakunana Matata (but not YOLO). Life is too short to be spent worrying about time and goodbyes. I’m not afraid to age because life isn’t defined by age, or at least, it shouldn’t be. Life should be defined by the way it’s lived. 

My Golden Years? They are behind me, because I have been blessed in so many ways. They are right now, because I am writing and happy and alive. And they are in front of me, however long that road may be. 

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Sorry guys, I’m not drinking lemonade in this picture. But I like how time is manipulated in this photo and all the memories I associate with it.

Epylle Spydre