Here's a Q&A with Metzy, a member of AO Class of 2026 attending Westminster High School.
AO: This past year has been tough for a multitude of reasons, however there were definitely times worth celebrating, especially because they occurred despite the hardship. What was a standout accomplishment, a time where you felt like you climbed a mountain?
Metzy: Even though this past year was full of moments of hardship, there were also moments that brought great joy. One of the greatest accomplishments last year was being able to get really good grades during my junior year. It might be a small accomplishment, but last year there were a few small battles that I was fighting, and I constantly felt like I wasn't doing enough. I was able to increase my GPA even more and I gained a lot of knowledge for this year.
AO: Where there are mountains, there are also valleys. When you were in the valleys, the lows, of the past year, what were your sources of rejuvenation, so that you could keep climbing?
Metzy: This past year has definitely presented a challenge for many, and at times it almost seemed impossible to stay motivated. Regardless of how challenging things were, I understood that the challenge was not going to last forever. During the struggle, I could have been pessimistic about the entire situation, but instead I had a more positive outlook and took this as an opportunity to reflect upon myself. Instead of focusing my energy on the negativity of the situation, I painted and engaged in physical activity to distract myself from the chaos that was happening in the world. I made sure to keep myself informed. Painting was such a great stress reliever and it gave me an opportunity to take a break from what was going on. Last year was a challenging year, but it did bring many moments that allowed us to prove to ourselves that we are capable of overcoming adversity.
AO: In a lot of ways, this year was unprecedented, therefore you had to pave your own path. Are there any role models in your life or important figures in the world that have paved a path for themselves that you were inspired by over the past year?
Metzy: I would consider both of my parents to be role models. Throughout my entire life they have shown me that in order to accomplish our goals, we must be willing to face obstacles along the way. They have shown me that I must remain strong through adversity no matter how hard the situation might get. They have taught me that if I fall, I have to get back up. To me, they are the greatest example of strength and courage.
My parents came to this country many years ago to give my sister a better life. They left everything behind and had to face the challenges of coming to a new country. They started a new life from scratch, and they had no idea what to expect in a new place; however, they managed to overcome the challenges that would come their way, and they made sure to be an example for my sister and I. Their strength is unbelievable as they navigate through life and never give up. They have done so much for our family, and I want to pay them back somehow to make their sacrifices worth it. My parents are an example of hard work. Even through the pandemic, they have managed to stay strong and they have shown us that we need to stay resilient through the challenge.
AO: All in all, what have you learned in this journey of the past year? What will you take with you for your next journey?
Metzy: This past year has been full of many valuable lessons, and one of them is that we are more resilient than we think we are. The challenges that we have all faced this past year were incredibly hard, and we all came face-to-face with the idea of giving up. There were days that were harder than others and we still managed to get up. I could have given up against adversity, but instead I learned that if I give up, I will never find out how far I can truly go. I am certain there will be other challenges that we will have to encounter in life, and I know that if I remain resilient I can overcome adversity. This past year has helped me see that we are all stronger than we think, and that is something that I will be taking in my future journeys. If I feel like giving up, I will remember that I can overcome adversity with strength and resiliency.