Caroline Kuiper

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    My existence could best be summarized as a glob of silly putty being stretched every which way until I get as close to a breaking point as possible. My entire life has been spent going in as many directions as I could handle; from switching sports to switching homes to switching my future goals, constants are mostly hard to come by. In scenarios like these, one can only hope they don’t snap from the pressure. This may sound slightly frightening and sad, and at times it can be. However, one huge thing I’ve learned while trying to keep myself afloat is that while the load may sometimes seem unbearable, patience is the key to lightening that burden and allowing great things to come into your life to make all of the crazy worth it. Patience is something everyone preaches, but not everyone practices. Once mastered, though, the art of patience can unlock doors others only dream of. For me, it has made all of the stretching in my silly-putty life worthwhile, and even a joy.


    I began my journey by being patient with myself. Between APs, two varsity sports, and Student Council to name only a few, I was (and still am) wearing myself down in a way where doing everything perfectly was an impossibility. At some point exhaustion kicks in and always messes up Plan A, which in my case was literally to get A’s in every aspect of my life. When my perfect little straw house began to fall down around me, I began to blame myself for not being good enough, strong enough, smart enough, worth it. I jumped to conclusions in which I was my own punching bag. This not only affected me, but the ones around me who I cared about when I showed up with a poor attitude. Once I began to be patient with myself, however, my straw house was strengthened to brick and I was able to begin repairs on myself. This helped me build back my confidence, which reached beyond within me and into the lives of those who I had been bitter to before.


    Next, I began showing more patience to those around me. Now that I understood myself what it meant to be truly at a breaking point, I recognized the symptoms in others. This allowed me to help them when they needed it. I also began to be more patient with matters out of my control. Sure, a friend is running late to our coffee day. But who doesn’t run short on time every once and a while? After all, isn’t our time spent juggling enough matters in just a short 24 hours?
    After practicing this patience for a time, I began to see the payoff. Showing patience to my teammates and friends has allowed me to be named captain of the two sports I care so deeply about. Patience and understanding the needs of my peers has given me the opportunity to be on Student Council for a third year. These gifts, along with others I am also blessed with, show me that patience is truly a virtue. Although the directions in which I have been stretched then, still am for now, and will be for a long time to come can be a heavy weight, patience shows me the way to find joy in them instead of snapping.