In order to build character, you have to do things you really don’t want to do, and do strenous work when you could be sound asleep in bed. During my freshman year, I ignored this fact. I was an apathetic 14-year-old, and I wasn’t involved in any extra-curricular activities. I went home every day to go on the computer and search the web for little tidbits of information, do what little homework I had, and go to bed. I had sleepovers about every month, but other than that I didn’t socialize much outside of school. Then, in the summer before 10th grade, I joined cross-country, and I subsequently experienced what might be described as a character explosion. I realized that hard, exhausting work, especially done with other people, is much better than simply doing nothing, even if doing nothing feels better at the time.
Throughout the last 2 years I’ve grown to know everyone on the cross-country team and have developed new hobbies and interests. Before cross-country I didn’t listen to music at all, and now I have a library full of great bands I never knew existed. I do things with the cross-country team and my friends who aren’t in the cross-country team, and my confidence and sense of humor has grown tremendously.
Though lounging around the house certainly feels better than running 800 meters, I remind myself while I endure painful fatigue that I’ll thank myself later. When I’m running 5Ks, I tell myself that for 20 minutes or less of pain, I get bragging rights for the rest of the year.
Now that my second season is over (I’m fully intent on doing cross country my senior year), I don’t want to go back to lounging around the house after school. I’m anxious to explore new things, such as learning an instrument. I don’t want to stop expanding my character and becoming a fuller person, now that cross-country has served as the catalyst for shaping my high school life.
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