Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
One of the greatest accomplishments of my high school career is when I simply gave up in my junior year. I have played football since I was five. My family never pushed me into doing anything I chose football on my own and stuck with it for the next 11 years. I have been on many teams and had varying degrees of success through the years. Once I entered high school the game became a very different beast.
Freshman year was a blur of activity. Football practices until late in the evening and studying till midnight started to take its toll. My family's expectations were flawless straight A's across the board. School came first second and third and if I wanted to stay in football I had to carve out studying time whenever I could. Football is a cult and the games were the highlight of most people's weeks. Long after football season ends there are informal practices that every player is expected to be at five days a week and most Saturdays all year long. Sophomore year I joined National Honor Society with my nearly 4.0 GPA and expected the coach and the rest of the kids to be thrilled for me, not so much.
I missed a practice late in September because there was a huge geometry exam the next day. I missed again the next week to take the AMC Math Competition Test. The coach made a big speech to everybody about prioritizing their lives, it would not be the last time I heard this particular speech. Sophomore year at high school was more academically difficult and required more time for study. I gave up many nights of sleep to keep my high GPA. By the end of sophomore year I had scheduled myself for very difficult classes for my junior year and I honestly did not think there were enough hours in the day for study and 3–5 hours of football practice six days a week. I talked to the other players and they chose easier classes so they would have more time to play. I could not believe that was even an option. I gained 40 pounds and 6 inches and was an easy pick for varsity starter by the end of my sophomore year.
Junior year began and I went to the coach personally to talk. I planned to say I would try to make as many practices that I could but I would certainly miss some. I received a tougher version of the “prioritize your life” speech and I knew he was right, so I quit. I prioritized school, learning and my future in computer science and math. I prioritized books and the National Honor Society over parties and victories on the gridiron. I thought I would be emotional and upset, but honestly I was just excited about my future. It is my senior year I have a 3.8 GPA from the toughest school in the state and I have never looked back.