Facing Challenges

Priscila - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I remember the first time I entered school in the United States. I can still recall the feeling of trepidation and perplexity as my classmates attempted to communicate with me in a foreign language. During the first couple of months after our move, my mother received a phone call from my teacher. Mrs. Smith had telephoned with the intent of explaining that night’s homework assignment to my mother. However, she soon realized that getting her point across to my mom would be as difficult as making me understand what the assignment was.

My family had just moved to the United States, and although we had attended a few English classes in Brazil, living in the U.S. had exposed us to the language and culture in a way that the classes would never have done.

At school, instead of putting me aside, Mrs. Smith nurtured my steady learning and assured that I understood most of what she tried to communicate. The phone call with my mother lasted an hour and a half, as Mrs. Smith patiently described exactly what the homework assignment was and the necessary vocabulary needed for its completion. In the end, Mrs. Smith managed to get through to my mother, who in turn helped me understand what the teacher had been wanted me to do. Seven years later, after having won the English Award at my high school, I look back on my struggles to perfect the English language, and realize how grateful I am that I had such an enormous challenge to overcome. While most of my friends have been born and raised in America, I had experience the hardships of living in a society were communication was close to impossible. It was this challenge however that has made me appreciate language and words much more today. I believe that it is in meeting a challenge head-on and surpassing all expectations that I find myself truly fulfilled. I draw my inspiration from the knowledge that I may achieve whatever I wish, so long as I acknowledge the illimitable promise of the human mind.

A few years ago, when I was still home schooled, I faced the most difficult and challenging time of my life. I had a full class schedule, while going to two different home schooling associations each week and taking 10 AP/college preparatory classes. In addition, after school my mother would rush me to ballet practice at the Houston Ballet where I spent three hours, if not more, in class. I returned home late at night, exhausted from my strenuous activities and wary in the face of my mountainous pile of assignments. Often I found myself too tired to stay awake, and thus would take advantage of the few precious hours of sleep that could be spared before I would have to wake up and press onward in my scholarly endeavors. Despite all this, I remember this time to have been the happiest of my life.

The idea that there is such unrealized potential within a human being inspires me to strive for greatness. I am continually expanding my boundaries and utilizing my imagination to accomplish things I had not thought feasible. It is by facing challenges no matter at what odds that the realization of the mind’s unlimited potential can surface.