I've spent the past 19 years of my life trying to figure out the type of person I was going to become.

In elementary school, I was the disciplined and obedient kid with also a fun side, who loved to make a new best friend every chance I got; In middle school, I was the outgoing and hilarious (or so I thought) friend who always got shushed in class by the teacher for socializing too much. And then came high school; I was the girl who craved a friend group in the midst of taking as many AP classes I could, auditioning for a higher level orchestra, and being on a team sport.

Freshman year of high school can be a critical period of time. A wave of new people from other middle schools are all placed into one building and this is completely new territory. The hallways are much more intimidating and well, grades actually matter now. Despite that, I still found a way to make new friends and tried to fit in as best as I could. I surrounded myself with people who were truly there for me no matter what. I had the best friends a girl could ask for and it seemed like I had everything a suburban teenage girl could dream of having.

Except, no one truly has a perfect life.

Freshman and sophomore year I was dealing with health issues that impacted my lifestyle more than I imagined. I could no longer play my favorite sports- so I switched to playing Badminton. Easy enough, I thought. Except pretty soon, even that was too much for me to handle. I would even have trouble climbing the stairs to my next class without holding on to the railing for support to catch my breath. All I would want to do is lay in bed because that was the only place my lethargic self would allow me to be.

A couple hundred needle proddings and blood tests later, I was finally able to identify what was wrong with my body and was able to combat it with various vitamins and medications over time. I slowly regained my strength and energy and started to feel like myself again.

I took the experiences of what I went through to help me become a changed person. I realized that the life we are given is so precious and every moment of it should be spent doing something worthwhile. I consider myself unbelievably lucky for the opportunities and advantages I have and have always chosen to make the most of it.

For those of you who know me now, a sophomore in college, I am someone who loves spontaneity but also stays within my limits. I love to have fun and party, but I'm also that nerd who will study for a bio exam two weeks in advance. I am emotional and thoughtful, yet weird and wild. There is so much more to me than what people first see and that is who I chose to become.