An essay contest for high school students in Rockland and Westchester Counties, sponsored last month by Citibank, drew more than 1,600 essays on the topic ''What is the most critical issue facing high school students today?'' The following essay won the $500 first prize in the 11th- to 12th-grade category. By DONNA TOMAN
''WHO am I, and what do I stand for?'' The answer to this question seems to elude a great many high school students today. It is for this reason that I believe the discovery of one's true ''self'' is one of the most difficult issues a student has to face in these times of increasing pressure.
In our society, the child is asked at a very young age what he would like to be when he grows up. The child invariably replies, ''I'm going to be a doctor,'' or maybe a lawyer or fireman. The adult will nod in approval and commend the child on his fine choice of professions.
As the child ages and matures, however, he most often realizes that he really doesn't know what he wants to do. This problem of indecision is magnified in the junior and senior years of high school when students must begin to make decisions on colleges or jobs that will affect the rest of their lives. The more a student reflects upon his choices; the more he examines his motives, his goals, his ideals and values in life, the more he is perplexed.
Up to this point in the student's life, parents and friends have offered their guidance; they have told the child what they believe is ''right'' and what is ''wrong.'' Now the young adult must examine his own feelings, formulate his own set of values, for he alone can answer the important questions that face him.
In a time when there often seems to be no real morals, no concise codes of behavior, I think this task becomes extremely difficult. The discovery of increasing drug and alcohol use should not come as a shock to the community in light of the decisions between morals that today's youths are forced to face. Drug usage is simply a symptom of the confusion of youth. Getting ''high'' is a way of escaping reality.
Looking deeply into one's self can be a very painful experience. Only once one knows who he is and what he wants out of life will he be able to decipher what is ''right'' from what is ''wrong.''Continue reading the main story
Hi! My name is Tom. I’m 16 and I live in Warsaw which is the capital of Poland. Actually I come from another city - Wroclaw, where I lived for eleven years, but five years ago, my dad decided to change his job, and we all moved to Warsaw. I have a sister – Maja. She is 18 and she had been to USA two years ago and now she studies law at the University of Warsaw. My dad works for a German company. My mom used to teatch at the University and now, she works as a computer analitist.
I’m interested in computer science, music, sport and fantasy literature. Computers first appered in my life when I was seven. Then I had got my first computer. It was Commodore 64 and I remember myself thinking, that it was the best thing in the world. I was playing it whenever I could. Then I had got my first PC. At first, I was just playing computer games, but some time later, I noticed that I could do a lot more things with the computer, for example programming. Now, I can already programue in Pascal, C++ and HTML. I have my own site on the internet and I have done many programues. I hope that in the future I will get a job as a computer scientist.
My favorite music band is QUEEN. I think it is the best group on the earth. Together with my sister, we are devoted Queen fans. We have all their albums, many video tapes, books, posters, gadgets and interviews. I love them, but I also like other groups like The Doors, The Baeatles, The Rolling Stones, some Polish rock groups and many others. Apart from that I’m really fascinated by Scottisch bagpipe songs, and one of my favorite albums is the „Braveheart” soundtrack.
I have always been good at sports. I like playing soccer, running and swimming (also SCUBA diving and diving). I have played in many sport tournaments (football cups, handball cups, races) in which together with my team, I have won many trophys. My favorite intelectual game is chess, but I have never played it professionaly.
I love fantasy literature. I read fantasy books and magazines, watch fantasy films and play role playing games in which fantasy world is used as background. Once every two weeks, I meet with my friends and we play „Middle Earth”. I’m the master of the game and they are players. We play about five hours sesion.
It’s a lot of fun. „Middle Earth” is a game based on Tolkien’s books. I chose it, becouse I love everything that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote. He is my favorite writer, but I like other writers as well, for example Piers Anthony or Robert Jordan.
My dream is to study computer science and to go to Japan. I love everything associated with this country. and I hope that in the future, I will learn Japanise. I want to go to Japan and stay there for a long time. I want to get a job there as a computer scientist. Now, I try to learn Japanise by myself. I already know some words and about sixty letters of their alfabeth. My parents promised me that if I learn German and English well, they will find me a Japanise teatcher.
I hate spiders. When I see a spider (especialy when it’s a big one) I feel so very small and the spider seems so huge. I don’t feel scarred when I see a mouse, snake or any other animal and when I come across a spider I think: „Why is it not a mouse? Why do I always find spiders and not mise for example”. This is terrible.
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