Maria Galvan

It’s my 8th grade graduation. I’m getting ready, adjusting my cap on my head, and fixing my hair. As I'm curling my hair I reflect on what I have accomplished. As I reflect on my middle school years, I realized that I closed myself off from everyone and didn’t give enough time to have fun. Realizing this, I made a promise to myself that I would never close myself off from opportunities given to me. I have never been the most outgoing or extroverted person, as some of you may know, but I have come a long way from where I was back then. Back then, I wouldn’t allow myself to open up and really talk to people because I was scared to let them in. I didn’t let myself have fun because I thought people would think I was weird. I was scared that people wouldn’t like me. I was scared of being rejected. So I settled. I told myself that if I didn’t say or participate in anything at all, then no one could dislike me for who I am. I went all through middle school with this mindset.

Things had to change, so I made that promise to myself on my 8th grade graduation. I realized then and there that I shouldn’t have cared about what other people thought of me. Going into high school I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone. The first day of ninth grade I sat with a group of people at lunch even though I had no idea who they were and was scared to speak. But I spoke. Now, I didn’t speak very much, but it was a start. I continued to push past my boundaries that I had built in middle school. I kept surprising myself.

Writing this, I am reminded of a saying that has stuck with me since starting at RHP: “get comfortable being unforgettable”. I first heard this phrase while listening to a podcast about softball. I had to keep putting myself in situations that I wouldn’t have otherwise been in, because I knew if I didn't then I would regret not doing it. I talked to people first before they could talk to me. On outdoor ed, I forced myself to participate in hiking, rock climbing, caving, and pretty much all of the other activities that I know I would not have done in middle school. Doing this, I literally had so much fun and made my high school experience something that I am so incredibly grateful for. I found my friends and I wasn’t worried about being myself. Everyday I strive to do something, even the smallest of things, past my comfort zone. I have learned so much from being at RHP. RHP has given me the opportunity to find myself. Now, saying all this, I still continue to struggle daily with getting out of my comfort zone. And that’s ok. What I’m trying to say is ,that it’s worth it. I am so excited to start this next chapter of my life because I know that it offers so many possibilities. I know that my middle school self would be so proud of me for all that I have become and all that I have accomplished.