History explains the world, and my history explains me. Different events and influences shaped who I eventually became as a person. From my family’s quirks, to my illness and odd education, I became unique. My interests, my strengths, all of what describes me can be ascertained from my history. That is why I like learning about the past, one can learn why things happen and how to recreate or avoid something in the future.
I like to know why things happen. I was always a curious child with very strange questions. I was so consistent with my questions that my uncle, who was an elementary school principal, posted monthly quotes from me in his school. Luckily I had parents who enjoyed answering questions and teaching me new things. My father worked at the Smithsonian Museum so I was constantly surrounded by historians, scientists, and archaeologists. They became somewhat like my second family. I had all of these people, experts in their various fields, who loved to share their knowledge with me. I loved to hear about ancient things the most, like the Egyptians and Greeks, or even further back like Dinosaurs. I saw them as stories, they were very entertaining, which is pretty much all little kids look for.
In addition to my father and the smithsonian, my grandfather was also a big influence on me. He was always a historian at heart, but more importantly he always told me stories about when he was in WWII. This was much different than just learning about ancient civilizations, this was someone I knew, someone I was close to. He had lived this. That made it much more personal for me, much more important. I got a deeper connection to the past than I ever did in history class because I started thinking about how I may be related to someone involved with these various events throughout history. Finally, One big moment for me was when I watched the movie Saving Private Ryan with my Grandfather. He was the captain of the platoon who went to save Private Lyons in real life. He told us everything that the movie had gotten wrong and how it actually went down in real life. I cared much more about what was real than what sounded or looked cool. I wanted truth and authenticity, not something I found very much of in early history classes or textbooks.
When I was 14 I became very sick. After sleeping for 14 days straight my parents brought me to the ER where I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. My cardiovascular system wasn’t working properly which caused a lot of problems, the major problem being I was too weak and tired to leave my bed. I remained bedridden for 4 and a half years. POTS has been the biggest challenge in life, and having to go through it as a child really made me grow as a person. Despite this illness I was still able to pursue learning what I loved.
My high school History teacher Mr. Miller fulfilled my wish to be taught “real history.” I was too sick to attend school at the time, so the school sent teachers to me for one on one instruction. Mr. Miller didn’t have to follow a strict curriculum or really teach to a test. He had the freedom to teach what he wanted. So he gave me differing opinions on things, told me the bad things that people who were idolized in American History did. Essentially he taught me the uncensored, more interesting points of history that usually wasn’t taught in schools. I loved it, and ever since then I knew I was going to major in History.