My name is Amanda, like many who read and write in The Odyssey I am an individual trying to find a voice and make a difference. I would always read articles on the Odyssey but I never believed I would be able to step out of my shell enough to write for a website that everyone looks at. Like many people my childhood was rocky and consisted of many barriers that could have prevented me from getting to where I am now. Since this is my first paper to the Odyssey I would like to make it a bit personal in all honesty, I mean you will be hearing from me for the years to come so why not get to know me a bit. I grew up in a small town and was a huge introvert due to my rough young childhood. Went through the typical awkward middle school phase, braces, frizzy hair, borderline poverty family, the whole deal. High school came around and my braces were removed, the nightmare from my childhood had left and I was looking towards the future. The town I grew up in never fit my personality or where I wanted to be in life and after an incident of bullying I was moved to a brand new high school towards the very end of my sophomore year. This new school was just the beginning phase of who I was going to grow up to be. Here is where it gets interesting or as I like to call it, here is where it begins to sound like a fairytale. On the first day of my new school I walked into my math class and saw that there was one empty desk in the dead middle of all football players. Little did I know one of them would end up being my first love as well as first heartbreak. We became the typical high school couple, he was a football player and I was a cheerleader. Right before my senior year started we decided to split due to the fact I was going to college soon and he did not want to tie me down. That heartbreak was a life event that I now believe needed to happen. The emotional toll this separation took on me made me begin pushing myself as hard as I ever have and still continue to do so to this day. Ever since I was in third grade I knew I wanted to go to Rollins and throughout high school I was not sure college was meant for me. I disliked school greatly and seemed to lack drive to go above and beyond my potential. If it wasn’t for him and other obstacles within my childhood showing me how strong of a woman I can be and the support of my mother I would not be here writing this little autobiography to you guys. Honestly, besides letting you guys in on a bit of my background I also wanted to make it known that if you went through a hard time or are currently going through one, it does not stay like that forever. Things do get better and there is always a lesson, whether good or bad that can be taken away from an experience.
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As you get older, life sometimes makes it hard for you to take control and go to the places you've only dreamed of. There's always a work meeting, ballet recital, or something to hold you back from taking that trip planned four summers ago. College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.
It's important to get away from everything you know at one point in your life. There is a whole world full of risk, chance, and experience. The security you have in your hometown can be traded in for adventure and change. There's a time to try something new, learn something that blows your mind, or go somewhere that takes your breath away. That time is now, to feel like you are actually doing something worthwhile with your life.
It is important to get away from where you have grown up for some of your life. You need to grow on your own, without anyone there to tell you you're wrong or out of line being a certain way. The transition from high school to college is the gift of independence. You choose who you get to be without anyone holding your past against you. It's a do-over, a second chance after the mistakes and regrets you lived through in high school. Yet, being away from home has its drawbacks as you lose familiar faces, a steady schedule, and many creature comforts. But, all of these can be found in a new place with time. Leaving the place you grew up gives you another chance to grow again, without boundaries. Travel whenever you get an opportunity because it may not come again. Test your limits while living your actual dreams. Go out and explore the world—you're only here once and don't have time to take it for granted. Leaving everything you know sounds scary, but there are great memories to be made out there.
Whether this new place for you is two hours from home, or 20, it's different, it's exciting and it's change. It is important to get away from where you grew up and learn from the adventures you embark on. It is the best way to find yourself and who you want to be. It's what you'll remember when you look back on everything you've done.
First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.
During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.
You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.
While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.
In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.
Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.
When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.
Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.
You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.
When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.
When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.
When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.
When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.
Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.
I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.
You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.
Lots of love,