Finding ones passion

Advice on what makes an applicant to college comes in all forms: counselors, parents, grandparents, television commercials, radio commercials, newspaper articles, expensive college coaches and of course-me.

I have the benefit and blessing of working with a diverse population of students with an array of talents. When I tell them to find what they love, it really means that…and they come back with some very interesting extracurricular activities. One student traveled to China for a video game competition, another started a literacy project with a local library, one star soccer player started coaching at the park because she was injured. My favorite, of course, is when a young person finds what they love by accident. I would like to share with you a practice essay from a student about training for and completing the Los Angeles marathon in 2011 (for the forecast on that day, one can check out local weather or check out this video or this one that captures the weather). It was tough.

When I crossed that finish line the rain pouring, my feet and hands were numb and swollen, and my heart was beating out of my chest. The day I finished my first LA marathon, the first of two, will be the day I remember for the rest of my life. I had been training for 8 months which meant months of pushing my body to its physical and mental limit and it all came down to one day. The sky was pitch black at 3 in morning as i started my morning routine as I prepped myself repeating to myself “you can do this”, “you’re definitely ready for this”, and “this is what you’ve been training for can’t give up now” but i still remember the moment I was getting out of the freeway and the school bus came into view, I turned to my mother and asked desperately if she thought i could make it, because at that moment I didn’t.

I was terrified, the air was extremely cold and clouds filled the sky as I waited at the start line at Dodger stadium, I huddled with the rest of my running mates giving each other words of encouragement. I felt my heart speed up as the gun was shot, I thought to myself this is really happening, I’m actually going to run 26.2 mile today. As I progressed to the 1 mile mark, I felt the start of rain and as the race progressed so did the rain. I was challenged to the ultimate limit, people were dropping from hypothermia because of the extremity of the weather. I was determined to finish. I met my mom every 5 miles and mid-way she had asked me if I wanted to quit. It was a turning point in my life.

I was determined to finish this, I would not give up, and I told her “I would finish even if I had to drag myself”. That was the day I proved to myself I could truly accomplish anything; it changed my life. I gained confidence and truly believed in myself. I was a completely different person after I opened up to people and seemed more at ease with myself. That day truly changed my life I had overcome even my own expectations and transformed me into who I am today.

This writer is not your typical athlete or runner. She decided to run the marathon not to add to her extracurricular activities but to accomplish a goal. I wrote more about young runners earlier in the blog. I encourage you to find what moves you, even if it seems crazy…like running a marathon. The writer of the earlier statement can be reached at