Reflective Essay

There are many qualities that set people apart from one another, however it is one’s character, above all else, that truly defines someone. One’s character develops through every unique experience in life, and there are more experiences to be found during high school then at any other time in one’s life. Defining moments will arise, however, that will challenge us and present us with great opportunities for growth. It is these moments that not only shape us as individuals but also serve to lay the path for our future.

My defining moment for this year came during marching band season as a drum major. I faced many challenges, seeing how it is a role that requires a lot of hard work and responsibility. Some of the challenges I faced involved overcoming a residual weakness that I have carried for some time, timeliness. It is important for a leader to be timely so that those who look to them for guidance have a good example to follow and never have to question their leader’s dedication. I also struggled with adapting to my new place within the band, and, metaphorically, to my new place in life as an upperclassman. First, involving my place in the band, a drum major is neither a teacher nor an average band member. I was forced to walk the very thin line between being overbearing and therefore pushing the band away from me, and being too soft spoken, not saying what needs to be said, and consequently having to watch the band decline. Secondly, as a new upperclassman I’ve been frequently confronted with questions of what my legacy would be atBuhlerHigh Schooland have also had to address the emotions attached with watching my role models move on with their lives while I was slowly being pushed into the roles they were leaving behind. In dealing with these complex issues, I was forced to examine what makes me who I am at a very deep level, and through this I have grown immensely.

In all honesty, I feel like my regrets from this year vastly outweigh my successes. Even as I am writing this essay I am fighting back a nagging sense of failure. I have struggled with a sense of purpose and accomplishment at very deep, personal levels for quite some time, and never more so has this been an issue for me than this year. My failures, and thusly regrets, are many, and each represents a significant challenge. Whether being passed up for the role I wanted in this year’s musical, receiving II ratings on both of my music solos, placing second at state forensics, or, worst of all, failing to achieve the same levels of respect from others that I have had for my role models. Many wouldn’t know this about me, but though I push myself to excel and reach great heights with many different activities I only do this in a pitiful attempt to be noticed by my peers. I have an unrelenting need to be looked up to, and this year more than any other I have been forced to realize that I am not someone who is looked up to, despite how hard I have worked or what I have accomplished over the past seven years. It hasn’t been enough, and it is too late to change. I am still unsure of how to handle this realization, and it makes me scared and unsure of my abilities for the first time in my life. I don’t know if I can be what others need me to be next year because I don’t even know if I can be what I need myself to be.

This year has been one of many ups and downs, but one of growth nonetheless. I have continued to grow in ways I was already conscious of and have also grown through obstacles the likes of which I couldn’t have imagined at this time last year. It is because of this that I am both excited and extremely frightened for the year to come. The fact that I am afraid at all is an experience that is new for me. I can’t help but feel like the craziest times in life are still to come. My one and only hope is that I find a way to use what I learn each and every day to continue growing. A life without growth is a life wasted. It is a life of constant discovery that brings about the most fulfilling rewards, and it is this type of life that I am determined to live.

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