In the world of emotions, euphoria has been the more recurring one felt through my past 17 years. Euphoria is defined as the state of extreme excitement or happiness. As a child I could only relate in those few and rare hours my parents spent with my sister and me after having endure 12 hours of labor. Hours spent having dinner at the table, enjoying the mere presence of them with us, right before my sister had to get me ready for bed while my parents showered, power napped and got ready for their overnight custodian shifts.
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Growing up, I felt it through the rigor of my class selections. Feeling that “extreme happiness” in being the only 5th grader with straight As, winning the Spelling Bee throughout middle school and taking exclusive “honors” or “high school credit” courses. Being one of the elite, the more driven or being offered the more demanding curriculum, along with the new standards and insight given by the IB Program gave me a taste of satisfaction in learning. I received the opportunity to be challenged, to question and interact with others who offered the same intellectual stimulation and interests continued piquing my interest and incited a sort of euphoric sensation through academics. With every level of depth or new concept in Economics, Latin American History or even literary analysis in English, I was engulfed in new perceptions, increased awareness and inundation of questions.
Eventually I tasted the other facet of learning. Teaching. Through my membership and presidency in the French National Honor Society (FNHS), I tutored other fellow students in the French language, which was just as foreign to me. As demanding as learning a foreign language was, I fell in love with the language and devoted my time to helping others appreciate it as much as I had learned to do. In any given tutoring session, there’d be students asking for help in reading, writing in french or simply maturing their vocabulary and word choice. My teacher always encouraged discussion as a way of ameliorating confidence and control of a language, which is what Thursday afternoons were allotted to. There appeared to be such remarkable success, among tutees and their consequent performance, I established, along with my other club officers, an outreach program for local middle schools who offered high school credit for French courses, to ensure and aid future FNHS members and French addicts. The experience of sharing my knowledge and encouraging the same drive for learning, in the study of French, allowed me to practice and perfect my skill, allowing the saying “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn” to ring true. As I made mistakes in grammar and got corrected, as tutees asked for definitions of words I didn’t know and had to look up, as I struggled with articulating my thoughts and opinions and had to research for apt translations, I learned. I found myself applying French sayings and proverbs to my daily routines and issues, taking notes in french short-hand, and discussing school events in French with native-speakers, thrilled by ability and the effort I had to put into formulating simple sentences. The difficulty and demand that came with understanding and being able to explain the syntax of a strange language was what drove me to excel, perfect and dedicate myself to the club, my tutees, and French studies.
Through tutoring middle and high schoolers, I developed a taste for leading and witnessing the growth of my students. I chased that enthusiasm and signed up to be a camp counselor for a History camp over the summer, before my senior year. I could go on to gush about my kids, the nonsensical things they would say and the insight they gave me and my fellow counselors but those memories would take up more storage than any modern computer allows. However, as we talked about the Civil War, Columbus’ discovery of the New World, and Osceola County’s participation in United States’ history and development, I witnessed the power my position held. They showed up week after week, asking questions about “Why the white man hated the dark men?” or “What happened to the Indians?” and swallowing our replies as fact while they processed and questioned their validity. The facial expressions on an 8 year olds face as you try to explain the social and cultural implications of the Holocaust forces self reflection. Their confusion on “why” things happened or “how” we judge the value of a president and its lack of rationale or common sense subjected me to my personal speculation on history. I had gotten conditioned to accept history as is, as questioning was deemed futile, but they broke that pattern. With a simple question, a group of 4th graders revived my focus and acknowledgement of the purpose in studying.
Among FSU’s caring and intellectual community, I aim to continue embracing my schooling. I will continue to ask the “why”, memorize the “how” and understand the “what” so as to be able to remain an active leader in answering the future why’s, what’s and how’s, compelled by my pull to happiness, to euphoria.