As the summer break stretches through June, I find myself with more free time than I can remember having in months—the arduous affairs of Spring semester, culminating in a grueling Finals week, had left both my mind and body taxed beyond their limits, and I welcomed this period of recuperation with utter relief. This time off has given me the opportunity to finally indulge in one of my most favorite past times, one I had not had the luxury of engaging in for far too long—reading.
I've been a reader since the age of 7 when I began exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter through J.K. Rowling's masterpieces, and I grew up with the stories of The Golden Trio as they began their journey navigating their way through their early years at Hogwarts, learning the wonders of magic and also the darkness it could possess, the rise of Voldemort and the subsequent chaos of the Death-Eater controlled Wizarding World, culminating in the final battle that saw an end to Riddle's tyranny over both magical and non-magical folk alike.
I grew to revel in the stories of Rick Riordan as well, particularly the demigod universe of the "Percy Jackson and The Olympian" Saga, and the subsequent "Heroes of Olympus" quintet and the still-incomplete "Trials of Apollo" (I've only just managed to finish the 3rd book), and I connected deeply with how Percy Jackson grew from a scrawny, untested 12-year-old with no confidence to speak of and no knowledge of his origin into a battle hardened veteran whose sole love of his friends became his saving grace many times over, whose confidence eventually made him the leader of Camp Half-Blood, the eventual Praetor of New Rome, and one of the Legendary Seven Demigods of Prophecy in his own right.
The works of such great authors as J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, and Christopher Paolini (whose stories detail the adventures of Eragon and his dragon Saphira through the wild expanse of Alagaesia in the Inheritance Cycle) allow me to draw inspiration from the lives of their enthralling characters. I learned to experience friendship, mystery, discovery, betrayal; I saw these characters grow, and reveled in their triumphs as well as wept with them in their failures and at their lowest points. Their pain taught me lessons that would persist into my adult years, and their determination inspired me to stand up and persevere through my own struggles.
The lessons that these characters learned shaped them throughout their respective series, and I learned to apply these experiences to my own life so that I might learn to better myself as a human being through them. At my own lowest points, reading was a solace that reminded me of how even the dimmest light could illuminate the pitchest shade of black if one only remembered to believe.
As I turn the pages of the books I hold so dear, I remember that the story of my own life is still being fulfilled, and I marvel at how God's pen writes the chapters that will eventually encompass my future. I hope to eventually grow into the character that resembles the same ones that have enthralled me for so many years and will continue to hold my heart for many more to come.