Should I have a sandwich or a salad? Should I wear white or black? Which schools should I apply to? Whether deciding between two universities or just what to have for lunch, everyone faces both easy and difficult decisions. Recently, I was faced with a difficult decision; the pressure to make the right choice for myself was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I shocked even myself when I discovered how truly unprepared I was for the huge commitment that I faced.
Immediately after the 2005 school year began, I was offered a chance to attend a highly competitive school for the arts. This school, the Educational Center for the Arts, had limited positions available in their visual arts department and I knew that I should appreciate such an opportunity. However, attending ECA would mean that I would only stay in my original high school until 12:15 PM instead of staying for the typical 2:00 dismissal. This shortened day would limit the classes I was eligible to take as well as make it difficult to attain the minimum amount of credits and fulfill my graduation requirements. If I chose to participate in the ECA program, many of the classes I would have to take to graduate would be scheduled for my already demanding senior year. The two restrictive and conflicting school schedules made my decision very difficult.
In addition to differing class schedules, ECA classes would end at 4:00 PM. This lengthened my school day by two hours. The extended day would interfere with my participation in my high school softball team as well as any other extra-curricular activities I wished to pursue. Softball had already been especially important to me because I had played on a team every year since I was eight years old, and it was an activity I anticipated all year. Also, I had been offered opportunities to play on the Varsity softball team both freshman and sophomore year and I had looked forward to playing full-time with the Varsity team my junior year. However, with the opportunity to attend a terrific school for the arts at hand, I still found it difficult to decide between my two passions: visual arts and softball.
Finally, I faced yet another dilemma. My family and I had taken annual vacation trips to Florida to visit my grandparents for fifteen consecutive years, and we were looking forward to planning our sixteenth trip. Although I aspired to attend ECA, it became apparent that we all would have to sacrifice the family trips to visit my grandparents. The ECA program requires absolute commitment, and while it would be a unique experience, I felt guilt asking our family to give up our single vacation.
Although I faced many challenging decisions regarding my education, personal activities and family pastimes, I am pleased to say that I accepted ECA’s invitation to participate in their visual arts program. After weighing all of the benefits and disadvantages, I decided that ECA was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of visual arts and prepare me for a busy and competitive work environment. I have learned invaluable information about the technical aspects of visual arts, as well as why artists use art as an outlet and how to analyze their pieces. I am thrilled and honored to be part of the program. I have never regretted committing my time and energy to such a unique and advanced educational opportunity. Now, I wish I could decide on what shoes to wear!