High school has been a very interesting experience for me. It has definitely had its highs and lows and many confusing experiences in between. Overall, I feel like I have been equipped not only for college, but also life as a whole. High school taught me many things, both academically and emotionally. It has revealed and exposed my true colors, both good and bad, and as a result, built many aspects of my character. My experiences at CICS Northtown Academy have shaped me into the person that I am today.
When I first came to the CICS Northtown Academy, I hated it. From how small it was, to the fact that I knew no one except one friend, and there was the awful uniform dress code. Despite this negative mindset, I did pretty well freshman year. I was in the top ten of my class. I joined a book club, Asian Student Alliance, and the Whales Medicine and Science Program. In this program, I got the opportunity to learn about patient care, explore medical careers, and conduct medical labs. Also, I eventually made some great friends.
Then came the dreaded sophomore year. Sadly, I went through the sophomore slump. I realized that after elementary school, my teachers only had so much accountability for my grades and even my actions. Whether or not I turned in my homework or received a good grade in the overall class all depended upon me. I was always very disciplined and completed all of my homework, class work, and projects on time. Yet, when it came to taking initiative if I did not understand something, problems arose. My sophomore English teacher told me, “you’re afraid to be intelligent.” My teacher was right; I was afraid to ask for help because I didn’t want to seem incompetent. I had to learn how to use the resources around me and ask for help when I needed it. In order to be successful, I realized that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but it portrays how I’m responsible for myself and my education.
Junior year approached and I challenged myself to do better. I was chosen to be a Student Leader, a member of the National Honor Society, and a part of the One Goal cohort. I also took AP and honors classes and worked harder than ever. Moreover, my team and I won the Magnetar Youth Investment Challenge. This is a one-day event where school teams work on computers designed to simulate the stock market, with a school grant of five thousand dollars awarded to the top three performing schools.
Finally, senior year came. I managed to juggle all five clubs, AP and honors classes, my job at Oberweis Dairy, and volunteering at different events. This year was hectic, but I survived. I applied to fifteen colleges. Being a first generation college student is an honor and a burden. I’m excited to be the first member of my family to attend college. However, with this honor comes so many expectations from them. With their expectations and support, I believe that I have the potential to do great in college and onward. With the help of my One Goal teacher and my college counselor, I’m proud to say I’m a first generation student attending University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in their College of Liberal Arts and Sciences majoring in Biology. I plan to follow the pre-med track to work towards my career goal of becoming a pediatrician. I hope to become a pediatrician and do humanitarian work around the world because I want to aid and cure children who don’t have the resources to recover from illnesses.
My experience at CICS Northtown Academy was beyond amazing these past four years. I may have hated it at first but the school grew on me. Without its supportive faculty members and teachers, the amazing opportunities I was offered, and the wonderful friends I made, I would have never accomplished this much. Thank you to CICS Northtown Academy for preparing me for college and for choosing me to become a member of the wonderful Northtown family.
This month, thousands of high school students will graduate from charter schools across the county. We are so impressed by everything that these students have accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Check back here every day to see a new charter school graduate in our 30 Days of Grad series. Want to share your story? Join the conversation using #30DaysOfGrad.