Throughout my experience of attending an independent high school and
returning to a conventional high school, I discovered that
independence and self-motivation comprise a significant part of my
personal structure. I now believe in the importance of taking car of
myself, making my own decisions and solving my own problems.
Halfway through my sophomore year I decided to leave Las Lomas, my
traditional high school, to pursue the independent study program at
Venture School. At that time, I felt the structure at Las Lomas was
too confining. I wanted do more than just attend school, and I felt
overly directed by the school to the extent that I was not allowed to
make my own decisions about how I spent my time. I was compelled to
branch out and broaden my life. In addition to attending school, I
wanted to have a job and get out into the world. I seriously
considered spending a year abroad in New Zealand as part of my high
school education. I did all of the research and investigation
necessary to move forward with the program. It was extremely
important to me to be on my own within a structured environment that a
school could provide. I was excited at the prospect of being entirely
on my own in a new and unfamiliar place. Unfortunately, the program
was full, and I was unable to go.
In a similar way to studying abroad, Venture offered me the
opportunity to continue my education while increasing my independence.
My decision to be independent was one that I made despite the strong
disapproval of my friends. I was able to be strong with my decision
because I believed in what was right for me. At Venture, I was able
to make my own schedule and maintain a full course load while working
approximately 20 hours per week at a variety of jobs. In addition,
this independent lifestyle enabled me to keep my social connections
thriving as much as ever. Ostensibly, I had everything I wanted.
However, I soon discovered that my independence and self-motivation
were stronger within a pre-established structure, and I found myself
longing to return to Las Lomas.
In the middle of my junior year, I made the decision to return to my
traditional high school. Again, this decision required a great deal
of independence and self-motivation to make happen. There were
numerous bureaucratic and logistical problems to solve including
meeting with counselors, obtaining transcripts, interdistrict
transfers, and dealing with pervasive negative attitudes from friends
and family. I knew clearly what I wanted and needed for myself, and
this gave me counsel to persist until my objective for returning to
Las Lomas was met. The experience of attending an independent school
and returning to a conventional school has helped me tremendously. I
feel more focused, directed, and successful. I believe that my
experience over the year in independent study taught me to hone and
develop my self-motivation: to isolate problems and solve those
problems on my own. I strongly believe that my independence and
self-motivation within a structured environment will help me excel at
a college or University.
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