Heart of Harker: Facing our past to move to the future
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Outside the tent, I lie on the ground and gaze at the night sky. The stars are bright and dense. As they weave into a beautiful curtain and enclose onto me, I have never felt so close to the ground. In fact, I have never felt so close to myself. I could hear my heart beating, catch shooting stars diving into the trees far away and smell the scent of flowers in the wind. I feel alone but fearless, as if I have integrated myself into the nature and could finally observe myself as an outsider.
Last summer, I went on a backpacking trip. During the trip, I joined a group of strangers, put on back pack, and covered six to seven miles per day. In the wilderness, above me were the blue skies, and below me was the solid ground. As I spent time with my new friends., sharing stories, watching stars and signing songs, my mind started reaching an unprecedented clarity. Here is what I learned on the trip. I had given myself so many excuses to surrender and complain because of how hard times could become. But in reality, a satisfied does not take much. As I traversed into the wilderness, I cross tout items on a checklist under societal measures. These items suddenly became trivial. In the end, I realized that all it took to lead a happy life was a 35-pound backpack in the wilderness.
Around two years ago, life presented difficult challenges that overwhelmed me. Meanwhile, as a junior at Harker, I was burdened with heavy academic pressure. Then, there were rumors circulating on students attaining good grades by sharing tests, and perhaps, even being accepted by selective colleges. At a difficult time, unfortunately I submitted myself to pressure and temptation. Under stress, I approached a friend for sharing assessment information After multiple times of this exchange, however, guilt had become too crushing. I then decided to end this scheme and have never trodden near the fine line since. I had never before been a cheater, never have been ever since, and I promise myself I never will be. But in those two seeks, I was a cheater. There might have been pressure, but I volunteered.
The shame has only grown as the time passes on. After my trip and as I return school, I began my introspection. By looking down the road into the future, I came to realize that decisions like such would always remind me who I am as a person. I had attained a temporary peace in the wilderness by shedding my burden; now it has become clear that I could not only be at peace if I took actions to remove my stains. So, after a full year, I reported myself to the administration, something that I should have done long ago.
Nearing and crossing the line, I realize how fragile humans can be at times when confronting temptations. For that reason, I have humbled myself and become more meticulous about the decisions I make. On the other hand, however, I now truly believe that I am who I choose to be. But I=n order to move on into the future, I must first face my past.
This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on February 21, 2017.