Scared Second Grader to Savy Senior

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Above my fireplace is a framed 8x10 photograph of me before my first day of second grade. A half smile limps across my face, at the request of my mother of course. I’m dressed in a brand new white Old Navy tank top; the scratchy lace and fit made me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Everything about the photo, even my smile, was forced.

I look at this photo now and it makes me cringe. I wish I could tell the little girl that things get better. I wish I could tell her that she will gain more confidence in herself throughout high school. I wish I could tell her that she will become comfortable socially. That is the girl I am now.

Everything changed when I began taking journalism during my sophomore year. This course demanded that I get comfortable talking to strangers, and I surprised myself with each interview. I went from writing a feature on the new gym teacher, to interviewing the principal about a recent bomb threat, to even calling Harvard University to challenge members of the admissions board on their foreign language requirement.

Today, I ask myself how I went from being afraid to raise my hand to snagging a face-to-face interview with a District Attorney. After a formal award ceremony I attended, hosted by our very...

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