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I was very excited when I received my junior black belt. I thought it was all over. But in reality, it was the beginning. I have learned a lot since receiving my junior black belt. Morally and scholastically.

I was in the 4th grade when I received my junior black belt. I was just about in the swing of things in school. I had friends, I knew the teachers and the procedures for each class, and had good grades. I was doing well in school and just begun the black belt curriculum. Around May of 2017 the 3rd and 4th grades started preparing for the P.S.S.A.’s, Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. The preparation also came with stress, apprehension, and nervousness. I took this assessment in 3rd grade and I knew there was not much to worry about, yet I was still nervous about various things. I was and still am a straight A student so if I misunderstood a question on a section of the test or made an error, it was the end of the world to me. After the first day of testing, my nervousness slowly faded away through the week. I often get nervous over something I know will be fine or end up fine, but I still get nervous over it. I have learned to not worry as mush about stuff that I am prepared for.

In the first two weeks of 5th grade, I was extremely overwhelmed by how much change there was from 4th grade of grade school and 5th grade of middle school. We were now assigned lockers and switched between classes, walking to our next class unchaperoned. This was the biggest change for me because I was always walked to class by a teacher and didn’t know where every classroom was since the new building was both a middle school and a high school. We had tests slightly more often and there was more material on each test. The hardest part of the whole experience of switching schools was that I knew only three other students from my previous school of the 63 students in my grade. It was very hard for me at first. I had to adjust to the change, and I did. I made new friends, learned the layout of the building, and studied harder. From this I have learned that change is unavoidable. No matter how hard you try to stop it, it will happen, and you have to change and adapt.

I had to audition for G.A.M.P., Girard Academic Music Program, my current school. When I discovered this, I initially almost chose to remain at my previous school but with the help of my dad, I overcame the fear and auditioned. I sang, which was a requirement for all students auditioning and I also played a piece on the violin. I was anxious up until the acceptance letter came. When it arrived, I was overly excited. I was accepted into this special admission school. I worked extremely hard to get into G.A.M.P. This is another example of my being worried over something that I knew would turn out fine.

I am in the advanced string orchestra at G.A.M.P. with 7th and 8th graders. The music is a huge step up from the pieces I’ve played in previous years. I had to practice constantly to get it down and learn it. I felt very accomplished by the time of our winter concert because I had all the music down. This taught me that while sometimes become more advanced and complex, you must stick with it and keep going to achieve your goal or dream.
I have had many situations arise and various experiences in the year and a half that I have been a junior black belt, which have taught me a great deal. I am glad to have had these experiences, otherwise I would not have learned to positively deal with stressful situations, to embrace change and adapt to it, and to continue moving forward even as attaining my goals become harder.