I have not prepared for life or even college in the most traditional manner: I didn’t always have a place to call home, I didn’t have happily married parents, I didn’t have a town that I could grow up in; rather I lived in and out of different homes, I was raised by a single mother, and moved to a new school every year (sometimes more). But, I was also born with everything: a mother that loved me, people who encouraged me, and the conviction to continue on past my obstacles. My life and circumstances have given me the life skills and taught me the lessons,that in turn, have helped shape me into the driven and passionate student I am today.
Through my life and circumstances I have learned that like in the thrill of running a race, life is a series of struggles: your lungs clamoring for oxygen, heart tirelessly pumping blood, and muscles struggling to keep up the pace, but I embrace the struggle. I find my own form of strength to continue.
I find that just barely being able to find the will to take the next step, and then suddenly finding yourself unable to resist taking another, is among the most unique and surreal experiences a person can have. While your body teeters on the edge of complete exhaustion, straining to continue, I feel the most alive. This love for a challenge must be what accompanied Sisyphus to continue his eternity of punishment.
“Each atom of that stone
Each mineral flake of that night filled mountain
In itself forms a world.
The struggle itself toward heights is enough to fill a man’s heart
One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
~Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
Albert Camus imagined Sisyphus – condemned to roll a rock up a mountain, only to have it roll back down every time he reaches the top- happy. Camus envisioned him smiling while pushing the boulder and embracing his situation without thinking of the past or agonizing over future. Camus’ take on Sisyphus’ situation was unique and changed the whole view of the story for me. Sisyphus was unstoppable, he pushed the rock unabated every time it rolled down and somehow allowed the trials and tribulations to energize his spirit, not the prospects of reaching the top of the hill. He refused to surrender to gravity and for Albert Camus, this demonstrated man’s existential plight, and the absurdity of tackling life only to be pushed down again to repeat another day. But, this is what makes life truly worth living.
Life is a perpetual climb, yet I do not feel helpless in living it. I am content in knowing that like Sisyphus, I am continuously climbing. In this meaningless desert I have continued to learn and create, pushing this boulder of existence, not because I will one day reach the top, but because it is in living, and sometimes suffering through our hardest times, that we become who we are. It is in my daily struggle to comprehend the absurdity of life that I experience the beautiful things life has to offer, inspiring me to learn and grow continuously up my mountain.
We must learn to embrace our purpose –the boulder– in life. And, once we accept it as the objective of our being, we should give everything it takes to achieve it. Sisyphus teaches us to never give in to circumstantial disappointments or try to escape from the failures, rather accept failures the same way we accept our achievements. This is what I aspire to do when attending your school. I hope not only overcome this but To embrace the mountain. To trudge on. To discover and grow, and to focus on the next step and never the last.