“We have to put ourselves out there and embrace new situations — only then will we truly experience all the world has to offer.”


I can’t believe it’s finally happening.

Graduation is five days away.

In four months, I’ll be heading to Florida to attend the college of my dreams.

Why am I doing it?

Why am I going 1,320 miles away from home?

My high school journey began when I entered those glass doors and walked across that cheesy — but endearing — red carpet.

On that day, I only knew two things about myself:

I loved art.

I had no idea what to do.

On that first day in my first hour, Ms. Francis told her class anyone could be an artist as long as they put in the time and effort to do so.

Those words resonated with me and stuck with me ever since.

Still, freshman year, I was not aware art school was an option. I didn’t realize there were whole programs and majors dedicated for artists.

I think I was looking at becoming an accountant — God, could you imagine?

Somehow, my sophomore year, I stumbled across various art schools while browsing the internet.

Discovering I could major in illustration became one of the motivating factors for me to pursue art and learn about it as much as possible.

So, during junior year, I enrolled in art classes outside of school — they truly helped refine my skills and I met and hung out with some pretty cool people.

However, junior year was also incredibly stressful and demanding.

I had teachers who were difficult to communicate with.

I was taking rigorous courses while studying for the ACT.

On top of this, my cat unexpectedly had to be put down the second week of school.

Basically, junior year absolutely sucked — but I don’t regret it one bit.

I finally understood nothing was going to be handed to me on a silver platter — I had to work and put in the time and effort to increase my chances of success.

I made sure to meet with teachers to understand what they expected.

I figured out how to tackle assignments one at a time, piece by piece, in order to make them more manageable.

Even my cat’s death helped me realize life is unpredictable and can change at any second.

I recognized we sometimes have to push ourselves when things don’t go our way.

Our time here at Blue Valley taught us to expect the unexpected — maybe you failed a test, didn’t make the team or lost touch with a good friend.

But these obstacles made you stronger — you studied harder, practiced longer or learned to apologize.

As we continue our journey, we have to be strong and can no longer be afraid to make mistakes.

We have to put ourselves out there and embrace new situations — only then will we truly experience all the world has to offer.

So, why am I going to art school 1,320 miles from home?

Well, with all I’ve learned, why not?