How Science Olympiad Contributed To My Personal Growth

Joining Science Olympiad Taught Me Not To Give Up Before I Even Tried

The best things in life are the ones that don't come easily.

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Ever since I was in middle school, I had heard from countless people that Chattahoochee High School's Science Olympiad team was one of the best in the state. Thus, it had been a goal of mine ever since seventh grade to join despite not knowing much about it.

My lack of knowledge coupled with the high esteem to which it was held up allowed me to daydream about what I would do when I got there. I became entranced with the vision of myself in a lab coat using a microscope while swirling various chemicals in a flask. I imagined myself winning medals in various tournaments and becoming part of a giant, inclusive friend group. And since I had decent grades in my science classes, I believed I'd do well and rise to the top of the ranks fairly quickly. All of these dreams slowly turned into expectations about what Science Olympiad would be like in high school.

When the first meeting of the year for Chattahoochee's Science Olympiad team actually came, I walked through the door filled with high hopes and excitement. I had planned weeks ahead and sent countless reminders to myself not to miss this fateful day where my dreams would finally culminate into reality. I giddily took a seat and looked eagerly around the room that I had imagined myself learning in for most of my middle school life.

Immediately, I noticed that things were different than what I had imagined. The room was practically overflowing with people. Old friends were already saying hi to each other and forming little groups and cliques where I could hear conversations I could hardly understand. I realized that I'd have to try a lot harder than I originally thought to make a name for myself in this immense swarm. And lost in that sea of people, I began to think I'd never find a friend or someone I could talk to.

Over the course of the meeting, I felt myself getting progressively more discouraged by the minute. The Science Olympiad events focused on topics I had never even touched on in school. As I looked around the room, I could hear people studying subjects and terms I knew practically nothing about. I became desperate. I told myself that I could never succeed when I was the only one in the room who didn't know what they were doing. Thoughts began to nag at my brain telling me to give up or that I wasn't good enough.

I left that first meeting feeling dejected, crushed and hopeless. I half-heartedly picked a few events to sign up for. However, I mostly wallowed in self-pity as I lamented the unfairness of the world around me. My dreams of swirling chemicals had all been dissipated by the cold, hard reality of that Science Olympiad meeting.

For the first time, I couldn't envision myself doing anything since I was so uncertain about what I would do. That entire week leading up to tryouts, I debated back and forth in my head as to whether I should join Science Olympiad. I was so afraid of doing badly and trying something new that I made myself believe it wasn't worth the effort.

However, as I was considering quitting, I got a familiar sense of deja vu. Running away from something new was a familiar pattern I had done all throughout my life. I realized I had lost so many potential opportunities by giving up because I was too afraid to take chances. I had rejected Science Olympiad simply because it was something out of my comfort zone. I was scared because I'd actually have to put in effort to do well.

As reasons why I shouldn't quit Science Olympiad began to pile up in my head, I began to see how pitiful or wasteful it would be to resign without even giving it a chance. My fears of novelty and failure that had seemed unconquerable now felt smaller. I didn't have anything to lose from trying if I learned to embrace my mistakes and improve through dedication.

So for once in my life, I took a leap of faith. I opened a wiki page and started studying.

Now, a few months later, I couldn't be more grateful that I persevered through my uncertainty. As I've put in more effort, I've been rewarded with more results and improvements in my performance. I've enjoyed most of the tournaments I've been to and have had a blast doing my events. Now, I'm ending the season with three bronze medals and a silver from regionals, and I can't wait to do even better next year.

Science Olympiad has taught me so many things about myself and how to improve. However, the most important lesson it has taught me is to never to let go of something different when I haven't even given my best effort yet. Now, I'm a lot happier doing Science Olympiad and trying new activities. And as I've actually had to work for my success, my achievements feel so much greater and more substantial.

As a result, I do too.

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Summer In College Is For More Than Just Working

No, you're never to hold to have fun in the summer.

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There should never be an age where you stop having fun in the summer. The weather is nice, there are always things to do, and everyone is just naturally happier. So, regardless of whether you're 7 or 21, I'm talking to you.

During the year it can be hard to find a routine unless you are a very put together person. Sadly, I am not. Even when I tell myself I'm going to eat healthily, work out, and stop procrastinating, I usually don't follow through with that. At school, I find myself in somewhat of a constant catch-up mode. When I feel like I'm ahead on my homework or studying, that usually means I'm behind on being healthy in other aspects of my life. That is why I love summer. It's a chance to reset the clock for a second and catch your breath.

I get that having an internship or working is important for your post-graduation life, but having fun is important for your college years too. When you get a job in the real world, summer is going to look a lot different for you. That is why it's best to take advantage of the time now. This doesn't mean turning down that work experience, it means doing things other than just working.

First things first is finding a hobby you enjoy that you don't do at school. Pick it up for a little over the summer. Why not? For me, this is yoga. For whatever reason, I find myself too nervous to attend yoga classes at school. I have absolutely no reason to be anxious about doing something I like, but I am so I take the time to attend a few classes a week in the summer.

Secondly, try reading. Before you make that look of disgust on your face, think about the last time you read a book of your choosing. If it was recently, then kudos to you for managing your time well enough to do that. If you are not that person, then hello! I am talking to you. I am not a fan of reading because I usually associate it with homework. However, I find that when I have the time to browse the book section of a store for a few seconds, I find multiple books that jump out at me. During the summer I take the opportunity to read a little here and there. The nice part of leisure reading over school reading is that there's no deadline. You can read what you want when you want to.

Finally, learn something new. Again I usually associate learning with things that I am required to learn for my major. Learning something new that interests you is a different kind of rush. When I'm bored in class, I make bucket lists of little things I want to learn about. They can be big or small. One time I wanted to learn how to knit. Don't ask me why my 19-year-old self thought it would be sweet to sit on my porch in the summer knitting, but I did, and I'm kind of sad I didn't pursue that interest. When might I ever have time to learn how to knit again?

These might sound like quirky things to do, but you're young. Make a bucket list and try to cross one thing off each weekend. If you're like me, then you're a little scared of growing up. Scared you won't be able to accomplish all the things you want to. But, the fact of the matter is no one is going to make you accomplish them but you. So, take some initiative and do them. Summer is for more than just working; it's time to live a little and reset the clock.

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The Movie Watchers

The Types Of People That Watch Movies

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This past weekend I saw the movie of the life time, Avengers Endgame. It was the culmination of 10 years in the making and no there will not be any spoilers in this piece of writing. I however noticed the same trends that occurred each time I went to the movies. The I saw the same people, however they were just in different bodily forms. When my eyes were not glued to the screen out of sheer anxiety and thrill, I managed to catch a quick glance at the type of people that plague our good theaters.

To start off, there are always those people that are good people and don't disturb the movie experiences of others. These are the quiet people, the ones who keep their eyes on the movie and focus on nothing else. These are the people we should all aspire to be, with their bloodshot eyes from not blinking as to not miss a single moment of the movie. While I am not always the Eyes Glued To The Screen movie watcher, I can say with assurance that I am a somewhat follower of this rule. I think everyone should learn from these people.

Next comes the traditional On My Phone Like A Idiot in the movie movie watcher. This is by far the most annoying of all the people that come to a movie. Like I came to be entertained and I paid good money for this, I didn't pay 14 dollars and 31 cents to hear some girl gossip on her phone to her friend about how her boyfriend didn't bring her flowers or some middle aged man attempt to close a business deal while his kids were watching the movie. Either leave your business at home or for the courtesy of others, at least leave it outside the theater. No one brings me more anger than these people just because they don't know any common courtesy or manners.

If your at the movie, you might get hungry or thirsty so its normal for people to bring in some food, most typically being popcorn. This is fine and all but don't chew so loudly that it sounds like Jurassic Park to the person next to you. Or don't sip up your drink in such a way that it makes the people around you wonder how your mother raised you. I call this person, the Slurper. Just, be chill and watch the movie. At least your not like the On My Phone Like An Idiot where you're an inconvenience to the whole theater.

Movies are a great way to get distracted from the horrors that are our personal lives. They are solace for some people, giving us a place to escape from reality. So please, don't disturb the kind movie goers who just need a break from that relentless school, job, or even family. Just give them their peace. So sit down, turn off your cellphone, and enjoy the movie.

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