This I Believe

Sarah - Palm Desert, California
Entered on January 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

It was dusk and the boat rocked on the pristine waves that stretched infinitely in front of it. The boat was tucked into a tiny cove, surrounded by the sheer rock walls that shot upward to the uninhabited landscape of Catalina Island. To its left and right, the currents of the ocean carried the waves to the mouths of the caverns that speckled the cove. In turn, the caves spat out the waves in fragments, returning them to the ocean. I stood at the bow, admiring the display and reflecting upon all that I had seen that day.

When I was fourteen, I took SCUBA lessons at my high school and went on a diving trip to Catalina Island to become fully certified. Because of an unusual weather pattern, the harsh current that usually tore at the northwest side of the island idled, making the water calm and clear. This allowed our lucky diving group to be the first in many years with a chance to dive at this part of the island. We dove among wildlife that had not learned to be fearful of humans; I floated just inches away from three massive stingrays, a friendly seal, and thousands of colorful fish enjoying the unusually tranquil water. At the end of the second day, I stood at the bow of the boat and watched the sun set over the Pacific. The course of my life transformed at that moment.

As I took in the striking view, I realized that the world was bursting with opportunities, and that I simply watched as they flew by. I would never know how many experiences like the ones I had on the SCUBA trip had already slipped through my fingers. So, from that day, three years ago, I have had a passion for every opportunity I take, for every experience I have, for every goal I make, and for every day I live.

When I got home from the trip, I was committed to appreciating every moment of life and taking advantage of every opportunity. Because of this mindset, my high school years have been the best times of my life. I am now a senior and have just completed my college applications. Graduation seems to be accelerating towards me, but I am not afraid of the collision. I realize that high school has been amazing for me because I take opportunities and treasure my experiences, and I will do the same in college.

I believe in finding, taking, and treasuring opportunities. Since the SCUBA diving trip at Catalina Island I have felt passion grow inside me as I persistently look for new, rewarding opportunities. When I’m seeking new experiences I am giving myself something to live for. The next year of my life will be a huge transition for me, but no matter what college I end up attending, I will find experiences that will make my college years even more exciting and rewarding than high school.