What I learned in Summer 13′
Flying high during freshman year at Penn State, I thought it’d all come crashing down when I came home for the summer. But I was dead wrong.
It’s hard to try to jot down everything I learned over this whole summer but I can highlight a few key things that have made this year incredible.
I visited my high school shortly after I came back home to see some teachers I admired. In one short year I turned from one of their students to a visiting alumni. It was very strange walking into a familiar environment now as the teacher’s equal. Now my suspicions were validated that teachers were in fact normal people after all, like you and me. My and their best interests were the same all the while. It wasn’t eye-opening news but I believe it gave insight into a powerful transition in one’s life.
I took a summer class toward the end of the break. It was just one month long. Calculus I. Beforehand the extent of my mathematics knowledge was Algebra II. Never took trigonometry. Never took pre-calculus. I just dove in with the mindset that I’d study as hard and as often as I could to get an A. It was a one month class during the summer so I didn’t think it would be overwhelming. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t have my fair share of trepidation before the class. I had a dark history with math in high school. I nearly flunked honors geometry in 10th grade because I was cocky enough to take the honors course after acing Algebra I in 9th grade. That was a serious blow to my confidence in the classroom. After getting that D I thought I was done with Math forever. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I decided to give it another go. This motivation though was provided to me by my brother. He was the one who told me that mathematics is a vital tool in today’s world. We use it every single day, there is a huge demand for people who know how to do it and if you set your mind to it, you can bend the numbers to your will. With that speech in my mind, I decided to give it a shot and I ended up acing the course. I loved it. It was fun and challenging and important. I felt like I was doing something that would lead to bigger and better things which is why I changed my majors to Economics and Marketing.
Close to a year ago my cousin was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It’s an inflammatory bowel disease. Not fun. He was a freshman red-shirted for football at Georgetown University. He had a full ride to play football. The affliction tore his world apart. He lost lots of weight, was limited to what he could eat, had to go the bathroom frequently, spent weeks in hospitals, had to endure two surgeries, couldn’t date, lost friends, and was told he could never play football again. All at the age of 20. He went through hell and back and now finally he is having his final surgery in a few days to draw his battle with this disease to a close.
He is a warrior plain and simple. He was torn down and built right back up by God. Over the summer we became closer as cousins. We started hanging out more and getting to know the other better. This terrible affliction brought us closer as a family together and I thank God profusely for bringing out the good in such a dark situation. What I think my cousin has done though stretches farther along then even he realizes. He has come out a better person but he has brought the best in those around him. He is a living inspiration. Through the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty, he has empowered the community of those fortunate enough to know him.
My best friend left for Pitt a short while ago. It was painful for me to see him leave but this summer has shown me how
strong our friendship really is. College isn’t about to change that. I know now not to sweat the small stuff because that’s all that it really is in the grand scheme of things: small stuff.
I stand on the doorstep of sophomore year re-energized. I’ve been itching to be back for a while now but patience has taught me that waiting makes what you want even sweeter when you get it. Thanks to my amazing family, my great friends, and everyone else I got to spend this summer with. Have a good rest of the year.
Posted on August 22, 2013, in Random/Miscellaneous and tagged Education, Georgetown University, Mathematics, Mathematics education, Precalculus, Student, Summer 2013, Teacher, what I learned. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.