Throughout my education, I have encountered countless great teachers in various subjects. In one form or another, my teachers have shown me the potential I have, even when I didn’t see it. In elementary school, a teacher attempted to teach me Greek. I was a ten-year-old carrying around a Greek dictionary memorizing the alphabet. I didn’t get far with that but it was my first experience where a teacher thought I had the potential to learn a third language.

In high school, I loved to dedicate myself to art. In the beginning, I was taught the technical part of it and I gradually found my own style– a mix of shaded realism with pops of color. Every year I was pushed by my art teachers whether I was drawing, painting or experimenting with clay in ceramics. With their help, advice and encouragement I learned to love the process of creating– staying up late into the night listening to music and getting lost in my art.

I was also pushed by English teachers even though I wasn’t initially interested. But little by little each teacher showed me that if I worked hard enough, I could unlock my writing and analytical skills. It’s thanks to all of my inspiring English teachers that I have become the writer that I am today. They had different teaching styles and personalities, but each one is memorable and their lessons stuck with me.

It hasn’t been only teachers who have done this for me. Running is one of my passions. I have been trained by amazing people who are just as passionate about the sport. There was a particular coach who I met at a day running camp that changed my perspective. Throughout the course of a summer, he taught me what it really meant to be a runner. As we ran through Central Park’s dirt trails in the summer heat and the occasional thunderstorm, I increased my mileage, became faster and my love for running was at its peak.

At the end of the program, he told me I had the potential to run competitively in college. He was the first to say that to me and it left me breathless. I hadn’t imagined myself continuing my running career after high school and even though I chose not to, his encouragement was enough for me.

There is potential in all of us and although we may not realize this on our own, it does exist. Sometimes it takes a certain person like a teacher or coach to show us what we are capable of achieving. I can proudly say important life choices are attributed to the positive influences of teachers. It’s important to take advantage of their knowledge, especially in college. Professors are there to teach us about subjects and life, while also continuously, encouraging us to reach our potential.