St. Ignatius
Pamela

At a young age, I used to be quiet and shy, not wanting to expose my inner self; not wanting to speak up for what I thought was correct and what I thought was right.Due to my shyness and quietness, I struggled academically during my elementary school years. Rather than asking for help, I did not stand up for myself or advocate for myself. In my mind, I was behind everyone and should not ask for help for the sake of me not being looked down upon, by my own peers. As soon as I realized constantly comparing myself to others wouldn't help, I began to take action. Instead of comparing  myself to others, I always looked at the people I admired and used them as inspiration to be the best version of myself. Although it took a lot of time, I was able to break out of my antisocial shell and improve my social interactions. An example of this was when I was on my overnight school trip, when we first arrived I had little to no friends. By the end of the trip, I made lots of friends. All thanks to my teachers, who’d made hiking groups with people who had similar interests. 

Over the course of my years at FSA,  many classmates and teachers of mine can all agree that I’ve grown a tremendous amount. In  all of my classes,  Math, English, Social Studies, Religion,  and Science we have to do various amounts of public speaking. As mentioned earlier, I was not very good at socializing and public speaking in the beginning of my middle school experience. As my class and I come closer to the end of our middle school experience, we realize how important it is, as it can form connections, influence decisions, and most importantly, motivate change. I am proud to say that I’ve  been able to persist through my shyness and become a powerful public speaker. This will ultimately help me become an efficient worker who is able to advocate for myself, and those in need. Although public speaking came naturally to me, adapting to the changes from a public school to a Catholic middle school environment was hard. At my old school, they did not teach us well enough to prepare for a private school. For example, when I first came to FSA, I struggled with math.  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t understand the material given, which eventually led to me falling behind. Me being the persistent scholar I am, took it into my own hands to get a better understanding of the material and catch up with everyone. Thankfully, all my hard work did not go unnoticed nor in vain and I was not only able to catch up, but raise my grade. Thus leading me to be on the 7th grade honor roll. I have stayed on the honor roll ever since!

Teenagers, such as myself, struggle with anxiety, self love, and perfectionism. One of the toughest tasks we can ever take on include: self-love and appreciation. However, these are two of the most essential things you need to get through life. You must learn to love yourself so you can love others and live life to the fullest. Having low self esteem since a young age always had a negative effect on me. Not being able to  make new friends, ask for help, or socialize with anyone, in addition to experiencing anxiety has  made the journey difficult. Having time to focus on me, and self care during quarantine, I’ve changed drastically. During this time, I got into BTS, also known  as the Bangtan Boys,  a South Korean boy band that was formed in 2010. Although I’d already listened to them before, I never took the time to read their lyrics. BTS makes songs about feminism, social injustices, youth, and lastly, self love. They taught me to stop looking at myself through society’s perspective. Comparing myself to my 6th grade days, the more I realize and respect everyone who helped me become who I am today. This includes my teachers, friends, and family because of them, I’ve grown  a tremendous amount as a person. When I was younger, I’d always been a curious kid, always asking questions for a better understanding of how the world works. Among the many questions I always had,  my favorite one was, If humanity's true meaning is all about being there for each other, why then do people tend to shy away from lending a voice to issues that affect other people or groups of people in a positive way? Well, over the course of my FSA years, I’ve  finally got the answer. Many people have the mindset that if it doesn’t affect them, it’s simply not their problem. Being a shy person, I never spoke up against the injustices my people faced, but after learning more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  and his impactful speeches, I started  to learn that,'' There comes a time when silence is betrayal.“ When you know something is wrong, but you don't speak up, you become part of the problem”-Martin Luther King. Not only has this lesson taught me to speak up, but also motivated me to change my entire perspective on using my voice.

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in various forms of art. Whether it was visual arts, graphic arts, musical arts, or fine arts. Recently, I’ve  been doing lots of visual arts, such as painting, drawing, and if I’m feeling spontaneous, sculpture. There is something about art that’s very relaxing and reassuring. It’s as if it’s an entrance into  a divine realm where no one can judge or grade the work you put your blood, sweat, and tears into (BTS reference 😂😂). Where you can go from feeling stressed and burnt out from school or work to losing track of time, doing the thing you love most. It’s like therapy. You can express your joy, pain, anger, opinions, how you see things, etc with your art. You can express or show others what you see or feel without the guilt of feeling like a burden. For many people my age, it’s hard to express  the emotions they’re feeling because the emotions are new to them. My goal is to introduce all types of art to them to help feel the type of euphoric feeling that I experience every time I put my pencil to the paper of my sketch book.

I would say I’m a family oriented person, my family plays a big role in my life. I always have and always will value their opinion. So, naturally when I saw this question I was excited. When I was interviewing them, I asked , “What does me being successful mean to you?” What I was surprised to hear was when my cousin replied with, “Success  for Pamela to me means creating and maintaining a balanced life. A balanced life should consist of spiritual, mental, and physical growth. I believe it is important for her to work hard and accomplish her goals doing what she loves, but it’s also critical for Pamela to remember to take care of herself, pray, exercise, and eat well, spend time with friends, family, and loved ones in the process. .” This means a lot to me since this lines up with exactly what I want to be in the future. I want to be able to take on challenges that help develop me as a person and or scholar.

Among all the questions asked, I would say without  any hesitation this was the hardest question that had me thinking the most. The truth is, I’m not perfect– no one is. We all have a lot of room for improvement: as a student, as a sympathetic human, and as a person trying to discover my personality. I  don’t want to make a mundane impact. What I do know is that I want to make a difference and be successful. When I was younger, I  had many dreams. Among these dreams, I envisioned myself being an artist, doctor, and/or a police officer.  Although I was very adamant about becoming a doctor, artist, and/or police officer, I’ve matured  in various ways over the years.  I still  have a hard time comprehending why I just gave up and thought my dreams were so unrealistic; I assumed they were lost dreams. In retrospect, I now realize my dreams were  just tethered by society. Which makes sense, I used to value other people's opinions and I think I still do.  Maturing is a complex word that never really ends, since there is always more you can improve on as said, we’re not perfect. From what I can understand, a part of maturing is realizing and coming to terms that we have a sense of self and confidence. This ties into the fact that approval from others gives us a higher sense of self-esteem. We’re convinced that their recognition matters to our self-worth and how deeply we value ourselves. This all goes to say, the question of what I want to be is complicated since it is constantly changing. What won’t change is that if I am able to have a well balanced life with the people I love around me, I’ll be exactly where I envisioned myself to be.