titleWhen I introduce myself to other students on campus, I always describe myself as an education major from Blythewood, South Carolina. It’s pretty straight forward, but that’s not all there is.
I am a small town country girl, who’s dreams go far beyond my city limits. When I focus in on who I am and where I want to go in life, I can see images of all those things in my key ring. A number of objects that are attached to my key ring define who I am as a person. My key ring holds no objects that are out of the ordinary, and they even look quite normal. The key fob that holds everything together has a Lily Pulitzer fob with a faded golden trim attached to a gold hoop. That gold hoop holds three different keys; a bulky car key, a chevron print home key with a little “H” on it to signify it being the home key and a smaller faded gold key.
It also holds a purple, grey and white patterned thin piece of rope burned together to make a bracelet. Last but not least there is my favorite keychain, it spells out my name with plastic beads.It all begins with the small faded golden key, that unlocked the gate to my family’s farm. This key was given to me by my father. My father would enlist in my help on the weekends to take care of the farm. He entrusted me and my sister with this key with expectations that we would tend to the farm with upmost excellence. Taking care of the farm held a great responsibility of making sure every animal is fed, watered, and tended to.
It is an even greater responsibility when you have to tend to eight goats, twenty pigs, two hundred rabbits, over three hundred chickens and one very malicious turkey..When I look at this key it reminds me of when I had to wake up even before the sun came out to head to the farm and beat the heat of the day. Every morning started out with unlocking the farm gate, and driving down to our little cabin where all our farm duties awaited us.
With the help of my sister we had a system worked out that we could complete our farm chores in about two and a half hours. My first task was to feed, water and collect eggs from the chickens. You could say that this particular task was my least favorite. I developed a science behind feeding the chickens quickly so that they wouldn’t escape the pen and collecting eggs in a way that a chicken wouldn’t peck me to death. After repeating this process until every pen was tended to, there was still a lot more work to be done.
The rabbits, goats, and pigs still all had to be fed and just when I thought I was done for the day, I still had to clean and package the eggs. Helping to take care of the farm for so long engrained in me a hard work ethic. There were many days where frankly I dreaded going up to the farm either because I was absolutely dead tired or I really just wasn’t feeling it. It didn’t matter though if I just wasn’t feeling it, that wasn’t going to cut it. I had an obligation to fulfill, the animals depended on us to take care of them.
They were certainly not going to feed themselves. Having this key symbolized how I learned the true meaning of staying dedicated and hard work. Don’t get me wrong working on the farm was a great experience, but by the time I was sixteen I was more that ready to find a real job. This however proved to be particularly tough for me, considering I was very introverted as a result of being homeschooled since the seventh grade. The closest friends I had at the time was my sister, and a pet goat. So naturally I followed in my sister’s footsteps and applied at the YMCA where she worked as a camp counselor. After completing the daunting interview process, I was hired!.
When training to be a camp counselor, I had many doubts and insecurities running through me. Was I going to be a disappointment compared to my sister as a counselor? Would I always be in her shadow? Could I really take on the role as a camp counselor and gain the respect of the kids? Did I really have what it took? Nearing the end of camp counselor training a small ceremony was held where everyone received a purple, grey and white multi-colored thin piece of rope. This rope was then burned together making a bracelet, to signify how we were all in this together as one team with one goal. It was making a commitment that we would all work towards one common goal of making these campers have the best summer ever..Having this bracelet resonated a new found confidence within myself, and rightfully earned a place on my key ring.
This bracelet not only signifies the commitment I made but it made for a defining point in my life. It marked the beginning of how I gradually grew out of my shell and blossomed into who I am today. As I reflect on this bracelet I can see how far I’ve come. During the duration of working three summers as a camp counselor I realized I had no reason to doubt myself because I had what it took all along. It just took some self- realization to figure it all out..