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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

My evolution in the last four years

The+transformation+of+organisms+to+different+outcomes+through+evolution+%0A+%0APhoto+by+Colin+Clark
The transformation of organisms to different outcomes through evolution Photo by Colin Clark

I walked up the steps and stood awkwardly with my brother. I had nearly 30 minutes to go before my first class started and I knew only two other people; neither were in sight. I already knew where my class was— Room 314. I expectantly started walking there when the first bell sounded and took a sigh of relief as when I finally got there as the bell rang. Heading in. Now, I am heading out. 

My current first period senior year is AP Bio. Thinking back, I started freshman year playing soccer and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Through the four years, I dropped soccer, fractured a foot, broke someone’s nose, picked up rugby and entered two Smash Brother leagues and a dozen tournaments. My coursework became harder and harder while my time became shorter and shorter. I gained 60 pounds and about one foot, but most importantly my mindset and abilities grew. 

To start, my two most memorable moments from freshman year were rather polar. I was in the bathroom after a soccer game, and I thought, “This is how high school is supposed to be.” 

A literal early to be saying, but who was I to know better only 1/16 of my time at Gonzaga had gone by. The second memory was during the annual speech contest, standing in front of my classroom about to read a segment from The Odyssey. I had never struggled in public speaking before; I presented multiple times in middle school and earlier that year, but for whatever reason, I was racked with emotion and shook viciously during the speech. I bore through it and finished with nearly a bucket of sweat under my sweatshirt. 

Flash forward through sophomore year where I spent most of my time practicing Smash and reflecting on my character traits and those of the people around me. Junior year, I was excited for school to resume normally especially after weighing in at 135 after a whole year in the gym. I had practiced small talk, making jokes, created a “popular playlist” and was ready to hit the ground running. I spent sophomore year evolving into who I wanted to be. I had looked at myself and said, “I don’t want to be an outcast. I want to be funny. I don’t want to be nervous; I want to be more logical. I want…” 

I looked at my friends, my teachers, role models throughout history and even controversial figures. I saw what made them well liked or disliked and attempted to copy the traits I wanted onto myself. I disliked how seldom people would laugh at my jokes, so I copied my brother and wrote down jokes. I didn’t like how I struggled to articulate myself so I eliminated most pronouns and read through a dictionary; then, I started to read more. While most people would say becoming someone else would be fake to myself and crumpling to peer pressure, I would disagree. Everyone deals with their own fear— whether it be public speaking or otherwise. I went to Toastmasters, and I joined the WJA science fair and presented in front of a panel of judges. I went online and created protocols for different scenarios so it would be familiar and comfortable as opposed to nerve inducing. 

Regardless of my preparations and activities, I really learned how to adapt. Those video games I played were the backbone. I captained a Smash Brothers team and a Valorant team. I coached seven different players and most importantly competed. I learned to react, predict and defeat my digital enemies and then apply that to the sports I played and the fears I faced. I looked at the obstacles in front of me and derived a way to win. I simply learned how to adapt and grow in the right direction.

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