The Benefit of Opportunities

Jasmin - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe in taking opportunities. An opportunity presented itself over the summer which I was reluctant to take at first.

I had been chosen to represent the United States as a Queen in the International Festival of Spring. Trujillo, Peru was gong to be my home for two weeks. Two weeks of missing school. I could already see the text books piling on top of one another like a game of Jenga. As soon as I pulled out one book, the entire collection of books toppled to the floor in a loud crash. I decided to take the risk.

My gut feeling proved to be right. This opportunity would change my views of life. My lesson of life didn’t come up until the second to last day. This morning I got off the bus feeling tired and lazy. As I glanced up, artificial walls and glass doors stared back at me. It was a plastic surgeon building. My drowsy awareness was altered to that of shock and surprise. As soon as I walked in, I saw the innocent faces of babies being held by their mothers. I didn’t understand why I was here until I walked closer, and I saw that each child looking back at me had an undeveloped mouth. These were the only two words that came into my mind. Soon, I learned it was a cleft-pallet. Before, I had only seen advertisements on TV which were begging the viewer to send in money. I always absent mindedly changed the channel. Now it was like I was staring at the TV screen with my hand frozen on the remote control. Initially, I didn’t know how to react. After the plastic surgeon described the procedure he was going to perform on these kids for free, did I feel a tear making its way down my cheek. The epiphany of my trip came to me in an office room in Trujillo, Peru. Thirty minutes was enough to change my views.

It is human nature to complain about our lives and looks. For the first time in my life I wanted to take this back. Take it back because I realized how lucky I was. Take it back because I had a developed mouth and nose to speak with and be understood.

By taking this opportunity, a chapter had been added to my life. My book of experiences is nowhere near the end, but with each new opportunity comes a chance to add something meaningful to it. Opportunities enhance our life and understanding. They give us a break from reality, or they bring us back into it. I believe in taking opportunities because there is nothing more valuable in life than discovering who we are as a person.