James Clough


 I was about eight or nine when I was introduced to the Percy Jackson series.  You would think that a book wouldn’t be that important of a memory, but it was.

The writing and the story itself entranced me.  I was lying in my bed and sitting with my nose in the book not even registering how much time had passed by.  I found myself being able to relate to the characters.   I discovered the demigods' backstory including their struggle with ADHD and dyslexia.  Since I have ADHD the stories made me feel special instead of feeling like a problem.  Every demigod struggled with behavior problems and was praised for turning these problems into something they could use to help those around them.  These books opened my eyes to understanding the world through mythology, and that's when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in classics.  Without the stories, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.  I am a person who doesn’t let little things bring me down. I don’t let others make me mad or sad because I am the master of my emotions. No one controls my life except for me and me alone. I will never let a person deter me from my goals in life such as becoming a classics professor and writing a mythology novel about a flawed antihero demigod.  Seeing heroes such as Hercules struggle with their respective lives helped me realize that I am perfect the way I am and should always fight for what I want in life.  I enjoy the stories of Hercules because he overcame many obstacles to reach his goals.  Gods were tormenting Hercules because they didn’t want to see him succeed.  Instead of just accepting his fate the hero fought back against the gods and eventually overcame them, not just physically, but mentally as well.  These stories inspired me to overcome my ADHD and make it into something that was no longer a burden, but a gift.  I started waking up every morning and telling myself that today I would attempt to focus on one thing. This helped me learn to pay attention in class and not get distracted by others around me. I learned how to balance my academics and my extracurriculars. Having ADHD and struggling with it allowed me to become more empathetic toward others who are struggling with similar problems. 

For most people, a hero is a perfect person who does everything correctly at all times. But to me that does not make a hero, a hero is a person who fights for what is right even if it’s challenging. Heroes know their limits and choose to exceed them to achieve their goals.  A hero should be flawed because humans are flawed and imperfect. A true hero defends people and learns from their mistakes instead of just making excuses.  When I struggle to overcome a mental or physical problem, I remember these stories and always feel inspired to keep pushing through.  I want to teach mythology to other students so that they can also feel inspired by these stories. The advice I’d like to share is you will face challenges in life that feel like an unclimbable mountain, but it's up to you whether you pick up your tools and climb them or just turn around and give up.