What was one moment that changed your mind?
The University of Florida’s butterfly and moth exhibit houses more than 10 million variations of 10 million species! When I read that fact I couldn’t believe it. Each critter displayed in those glass cases is completely unique; now multiply that by 10 million and you have one of UF’s hidden treasures. Yet the heart of the treasure lies within the Butterfly Rainforest, a habitat with 80 different species of lepidoptera. Next to the Natural History Museum these insects of all different wingspans, colors, and sizes live alongside each other happily. Stepping into this green oasis was a enlightening experience, as I had never had the opportunity to be around as many butterflies before. The feeling was close to euphoric, as all these winged creatures flew around me.
Much like the butterfly in its chrysalis, I found that high school was a preparatory stage in my life, a transitional period when I was never certain of what or who I wanted to be and was, moreover, very unsure of my upcoming choices in education. I subjected myself to hours of useless Google searches on different career options, but often ended up frustrated. I would give up. I was scared I would never find my calling and the thought of choosing the wrong path frightened me even more
But during the fall of my senior year, my visit to UF slowly opened my chrysalis. I realized what I wanted out of my life and what I would have to do to achieve it. For once I was sure of my decision to study based on what I had a passion for and not on what my salary would be when I graduate. During the pupa life, the purpose is to commence metamorphosis and begin a truly significant change. A stage of insect life, like a human life change, is rare and should be taken advantage of. I will make UF my personal Butterfly Rainforest and take advantage of all the opportunities that I am offered. Like the migrating monarch, I want to journey, to study abroad in Turkey or Israel. Spreading my wings to take flight for the first time, I know my education will finally set me free. UF will not only give me the chance to become the butterfly I was to meant to be but will also allow me to grow as a person, until I become that version of myself that I have been looking for all along. Someone who thrives off learning; someone who realizes that with the power of knowledge anyone can change the world. Whether beginning small in the classroom or learning Arabic to go study Middle Eastern history in the Middle East itself, I truly believe that UF is my starting phase. Now, when a family member asks me what I want to do, I can proudly say I want to become part of the Gator community and contribute my energy to everything about the University of Florida.