What is your greatest accomplishment, how did you go about reaching it, and where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A smile breaks out on my face as I sit in a picturesque shopping area in the heart of Vienna, Austria. The spire of a Gothic cathedral towers over me, a reminder of how far away my home and family are. I will be leaving Europe tomorrow, so I am going to savor the next few hours in a foreign land, away from tour guides and crowded museums. The unfamiliar sights and sounds fade as I reflect on the circumstances that led me to this wooden bench. I went against the grain, I suppose, first in choosing to be one of the few students from my middle school to attend Central High school instead of my home school of Northwest High. I believe that making this decision four years ago at Nathan Hale opened the doors to life-changing experiences such as achieving a goal of visiting Europe.

In order for me to accomplish this hefty goal, I had to get a job and acquire enough money to pay for the trip: food, transportation, guides and all. Balancing a 15-25 hour per week work schedule with classes, homework, school/church activities, and home responsibilities was difficult, but definitely worth it. I earned some of the best grades I have had through high school, even obtaining a 4.0 Grade Point Average in my months of scrambling for money and...

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