Author: Student Blogger Editor, Kate Martin
As Laurel Springs students we have all made sacrifices. We gave up the normal life of going to a brick and mortar school, riding the bus, and attending regular school dances. These sacrifices can either serve us well or serve us badly, depending on our focus, personality, and needs.
I am a tennis player and I have just started at a full-day academy. Last year I went to a couple different places for practice and private coaching, but nothing as intense as this year. Why did I change my schedule to practice at a full-day, professional-level academy? The answer is simple; to reach the level of performance I want to achieve in my tennis, which includes playing at the college of my dreams. Therefore being ordinary is not enough. I have to do something different, something to really give me my best shot. I have given up my social life for tennis, my other passions, and 6 hours of my time per day. But if I don’t do this, then I won’t have given tennis my best try. Years from now I don’t want to look back and think, “Man, if I had just stopped fooling around and gotten serious and really given it a shot, I wonder where I would have been.” I don’t want to be in that situation. If I fail to make it, I want it to be on my terms. I want to know that there’s nothing else I could have done and that I gave it all I had.
I know that there are many tennis players at Laurel Springs, and many practice at big academies. We’re not just tennis players, but actors, hockey players, ballerinas, and so much more. As a collective group, we have all decided to give our biggest passion the best chance to succeed by choosing Laurel Springs for our education and dedicating time to our passions. It may seem like it would be very positive to be in this situation, but that is not always the case.
As higher achieving students, we are so intensely focused on our goals, we limit other opportunities that we may have if we were enrolled at a traditional school. We do not have time for everything and we cannot have it all. Online school allows us to have flexibility and time to focus on our passions. But we still have heavy academic course loads.
As a student in the Laurel Springs’ Gifted and Talented Academy, I have a very intense course load, with AP classes, extra projects, and activities for Academy students. My schedule is extremely hard to balance. I am currently starting to work on a historical fiction novel for my Academy project, as well as completing my coursework, and I spend 5.5 hours practicing tennis and working out per day. In addition, every Tuesday I spend an hour and a half Shakespeare rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Given my schedule, it is very easy to get behind and one has to really learn to manage time wisely and take advantage of every minute. I am far from mastering this as I sit here writing my blog post the day before the deadline, but I am working on it and improving, which is all that really matters. With our busy schedules, it is easy to get exhausted and, sometimes, a little depressed. My social life has taken a dramatic cut as of late. I find it hard to find friends to hang out with on the weekends as well, as many of them are wrapped up with school, tennis, and their school friends, and their many activities. I am a person who needs social contact, so this has been especially hard for me in the past couple of weeks, particularly after my eventful summer. I spent three weeks in Madrid, Spain in July, staying at a friend’s house and a tennis coach’s house alternately. I coached little kids there and played a tennis tournament a couple hours from Madrid where we stayed in a youth hostel. I met many new people, becoming fast friends and staying up talking until two in the morning. I went to parties with my friends and had an incredibly good social time. To get back here to Houston after this has been a tough switch, but I believe that it is worth it.
I have to limit my opportunities right now to achieve my goals for the future. I would really like to be in an actual debate club at a school, to be in a theater group, to have time to go hiking and hang out with friends, go to dances and parties, and just be a regular teen going to school. But, I have goals and I really want to succeed. My choice limits many opportunities, but it also opens doors at the same time. I have the chance to be great at something, to make great contacts, to learn how to work hard and manage my time and efforts. I learn tennis skills I wouldn’t otherwise learn and I get fitter than I could on my own. I am excited about this opportunity, and I believe that all Laurel Springs students are unique, trying to reach our own goals, and vying for success, both academically and physically.
When we make a big decision like this, we further from ourselves, how we will be as a person, how we will act later on in life, and how we will prioritize things in our lives. We’re normal kids choosing a different path and doing our best to stay on track. Why do we make our decisions? How do we make our decisions? What influences our decisions? Our parents most certainly influence us, our lifestyle influences us, and our academic background influences us. As to why and how I do not know the answers. For everyone, the answer is unique and different, but there are many of us here at this school who have arrived at the same conclusion. We sacrifice, we struggle at times, and we do our best. We may fall and we may have to regroup and find a different path, but we take it one step at a time, doing what feels right in our hearts. We move through the hard times hoping to achieve our goals without any guarantee that we will achieve anything at all. We take risks for an uncertain future. For some of us it will pay off and for others it will not. I guess to Christians it’s up to God, to Greeks it’s up to the gods, and for me it’s up to luck, chance, and my own decisions, passion, and drive.
About our Student Blogger
Hi, everyone! My name is Kate Florence Martin and I am the student editor for this blogging program. I am a lover of writing and language. I am a competitive tennis player training to achieve my dream of receiving a scholarship to a Division I college. I have a passion for nature, hiking, whitewater kayaking, and dream of spending my days surfing, and rock climbing. I am a vegan and love to cook and experiment with recipes as well. Academically, I am very interested in History and English. I am also fluent in Spanish and spend part of my summers in Madrid, Spain, my one true love. I hope that you all enjoy reading my posts.