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The Road to Success: How to Avoid Limiting Yourself Educationally-- Amanda Grodman 9th grade

As a child, many have dreams of becoming doctors, engineers, and artists that will change the world. In the fourth grade, after discovering the concept of digitally-created art, I knew I wanted to pursue a career involving arts as I grew older, whether I would become an animator, graphic designer, or a forensic artist. I carried this dream for many years, and after seeing how much I enjoyed art, I had no interest in science, engineering, or technology-related subjects, and took little consideration into participating in classes, clubs, or projects that didn’t involve the arts. Throughout this time, as I began to enter middle school, my peers and I were now given increased opportunities to explore the world of aerospace, technology, and other aspects included in the STEM region. My classmates, and those in the grades ahead of us, were now educated about Aerospace, communicated with members of Congress, advocated for what they believed in, and were shown the power of legislation. I didn’t grasp the significance of these opportunities, so I let them pass while others took them, and watched as those who did so then accomplish great tasks. Although I am an advocator of holding onto your dreams and setting goals for the future, limiting yourself to one focal career point shouldn’t be the answer. As an entering eighth grader, I continued to have goals of entering art competitions, applying for scholarships, and bettering myself as a young artist; while these goals were not unrealistic, I always found myself becoming confused when I would witness my peers go on trips, present at worldwide-recognized events, and advocate for aerospace, debate, and engineering topics, and I was still at home trying to create something I thought would change the world. Often, I would try to brush this small issue off of my radar and continue trying to produce art and fulfill what I believed would bring me success; however, success cannot be achieved without taking at least one opportunity. In eighth grade, after many years of seeing countless opportunities pass by, something changed that allowed me to alter my goals and begin taking opportunities for subjects I thought I had no interest in; I was presented with one opportunity, succeeded, and realized how great learning outside of the classroom felt. I was now not so subjected to only focusing on art, but began to partake in STEM competitions and projects that I enjoyed doing. Not only that, but I was able to participate in these projects, and found that art is not limited to itself, but plays a large role in engineering, science, and mathematics. The breakthrough I had was advancing in the science fair to a regional level, and for this one achievement, I had learned a plethora of information regarding portraying your thoughts and findings to others, experimenting on something you thought could have an impact in your community, and exploring new subjects. The success was a euphoric feeling, and I now felt as though I could accomplish any other task presented to me. From then on, the opportunities that were provided to us by teachers were not foreign for me to take. I started having influence in our writing class by creating a calendar incorporating writing, aerospace, and art. I went to my first overnight trip in Northern Florida to visit a college and compete in a state-regarded competition, in which the team I was assigned to achieved second place, while also learning the value of teamwork and perseverance. It may sound self-absorbed, but I continued to excel throughout the year, even when schools were forced to become virtual, and I learned a plethora of information about myself. A factor to many student’s disappointment throughout 2020 is the lack of opportunities due to virtual education, although I have also learned that opportunities lie everywhere, as long as you have the right educators to show you the resources. The message I am attempting to portray is to hold onto your dreams, but never be confined to your goals. By creating other goals for yourself, exterminating extreme conformation for your exact goal path, and experimenting in new and diverse subjects, you may not be so concerned with a specific success anymore, and will also learn a lot about new interests you have. If you have heavy interests in STEM, try an art class or enter a competition; if you are a lover of the arts, enter an engineering design contest, or look into online courses-it will pay off. I still have future goals involving art, and, as an entering ninth grader, am unsure if I will rid this dream completely; however, I also have heavy considerations of entering STEM fields, including biology, engineering, or creating forms of technology. Education is the basis to your success, goals, and pursuals, and the teachers and educators that give you opportunities are only doing so because of the greatness they see in you. So, if you are presented with an opportunity, make sure to think twice about declining, as you may discover a thing or two about yourself and your future.

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