Setting the Pace

Derric - Chula Vista, California
Entered on May 1, 2008

Parents expect many things from their children as they grow up, or at least, mine did of me. They wanted me to join and participate in school clubs, play sports, and be a top-notch student, so I did. I wasn’t enjoying the experience though, and my parents noticed. They changed their stance on what they expected of me; they wanted me to do things I wanted to do, and enjoy doing them.

As a result, I now live life at the pace I set. I reach the goals that I set for myself, and enjoy the journey to them. Many of my peers don’t have that luxury; they have goals set for them by others that are unattainable, and still try to reach those goals. More often than not, they’re unhappy with the situation because they’re not enjoying what they’re doing nor meeting the goals set for them.

I started following this belief when I was about the age of 15, before the start of my tenth grade year. During ninth grade I was still under the umbrella of my parents’ expectations: participation in several clubs and student body, a member of the freshman basketball team, and an honors student with As and Bs. That year was taxing both physically and mentally. I relaxed during my tenth grade year as a result: no club participation, no sports, and Bs and Cs in regular classes. I enjoyed that year as I got to relax, but I also didn’t like setting the bar that low for myself.

During my junior year, I tried to take a middle ground: some club participation, no sports, and a mix of honors and regular classes. This resulted in my favorite year of high school. It was a good mix of work and play that I enjoyed. Senior year was much of the same, with the stress of college preparation added in.

I’m now set to graduate from college after four years and unlike many of my peers, have a plan for my working career. With my parents’ support, I did it at my own pace, and enjoyed every step of the journey.