A personal experience seems like such a simple concept to many. In actuality, it is complex, compound, and can be described as development through life. A personal experience is only a first-hand account through the eyes, and emotions of only one person and their journey. I have a story to tell that has taken a colossal role in developing the person that I have become in my social life, family life, and also my academic ventures.
Through reading the essay “Indians”: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History which was written by Jane Tompkins I was able to relate much of her views and ideas to my own particular life. In Tompkins essay, she tells her readers the story of a research project. Through the research that was conducted by Tompkins, she shares with her readers how personal experience is not only active in the world, but it also has the ability to act as an intellectual experience that is undertaken by individuals. Each experience whether it is through a book that was read, a story that was told, a person that you met, or even new concepts or ideas that one has learned can all have a small piece in developing how somebody is to think or act towards their view in the world in which they live in.
I completely agree with the ideas behind the essay written by Tompkins. In my own life, I can see how my family life, the people that I have encountered, and experiences I have undertaken have shaped the person that I have become today. I grew up in a family that was extremely religious in the Catholic faith and have very conservative viewpoints when it comes to how people should live their lives. The viewpoints are so strong that they can often be misconstrued as judgmental in many aspects.
I was raised in Huntington Beach, California with both parents under the same roof, two brothers, one that is two years older and the other that is five years younger. Therefore, I am the only girl in the middle. The area we lived in is very affluent and prosperous. All three of us went to a private Christian school our whole lives where we were taught Bible Verses ever week and made to go to church service every Friday. Through living the life that I did and the surrounding in which I lived them I was destined to have viewpoints that were influenced by what I was taught.
I was brought up my whole life not only loving but more importantly living sports. I played every sport that was imagined; volleyball, basketball, boys baseball, and last soccer from the time I was five years old. As I began to come into my own and make my own decisions it became apparent that volleyball and basketball were my true love. I played both sports competitively on club teams and found a way to juggle them both.
After I graduated from eighth grade at the private Christian school it became a huge decision as to where I was going to go to High School. My older brother at that point in time went to the Catholic High School Mater Dei. Mater Dei was known in Orange County as a very wealthy school, and more importantly for my family extremely competitive in sports. When I was in middle school my dad had been breeding me to go to that school. He had me attend every volleyball and basketball camp that the school offered in hopes of getting me acquainted with the coaches and the programs.
My mom wanted me to go to this particular high school for many of the same reasons as my father, but also due to the structure and discipline that a Catholic school had offered. I did not have much of a say as to where I wanted to go to school. Understandably at the age I was at the most important thing for me in choosing a school was going where my friends were going, and that was the local high school in Huntington Beach. As I am sure one can imagine, I wound up at Mater Dei against my wish.
The summer going into High School I went to Volleyball and Basketball practice every single day. These practices were mainly a try out so that the coaches could assess who they wanted to be on the Varsity team. I made Varsity in both sports my freshmen year and could not have been more elated, because no one had ever done that before.
I went through that entire first year of school with the most rigorous and challenging schedule I had ever dealt with. I would attend school at 6 am and not leave there until my last practice was done around 10:30 each night. I was beginning to be physically ill after that year, especially after not getting much playing time. My sophomore year of school I went through the same process as the summer before, and that year I was determined to get more playing time.
That same year there was a new girl Andi on the volleyball team who happened to play the same position as I did. Andi came from an extremely wealthy family who was willing to do whatever it took to get her playing time, even if that meant paying off the school for it. Andi and I became very good friends throughout that season and had many classes together.
Going through the season, Andi began to get much more playing time that I did without ever doing too much. This situation was mind boggling and I did not know how to handle it. I came to find out at the end of the season that Andi’s family had paid the school 50,000 dollars to gain her time on the court. I did not know how to handle this situation especially because Andi and I were good friends, and I wanted to believe that she had no idea what had happened.
At the end of my sophomore year I decided that Mater Dei was not a place that I wanted to go anymore and felt I would be better suited at a different place. My father was of course completely in favor of the transfer because of the volleyball aspect. My mother however was completely against this idea. She could not fathom the idea of one of her children going to a public school and was not going to let that happen. In the end, my dad had over ruled and I wound up being allowed to transfer to the local high school Marina for my Junior year.
While at Marina I wound up quitting basketball because it became too much for me to handle at the time and I wanted to focus only on volleyball. Junior year in the sport of volleyball is a year of heavy recruiting for colleges. My team wound up winning the champion ship at the end of the season.
In December of that year I had received a call that my friend Andi had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and was given six months to a year to live. I attended several prayer services in her honor and continued to do what I could to help her, which was not too much.
After High School season was when club volleyball started and also is when the recruiting began to increase every weekend. I went through all of club year playing for Laguna Beach Volleyball Club and had a very successful season. In March of that year was when I made the decision to commit to Northeastern University with a full athletic Scholarship.
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