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Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Power of Enviroment

I think every person can choose their path in life, but I also believe that someone is preferred to some kind of fate but that person has full autonomy to choose otherwise. My general experience: In life, I was given many opportunities and was born into a loving mother and hard-working father, these things positively present my life. I was born into some type of privilege. I can play the sport I want or play an instrument. I’m given almost full autonomy of my life path, but the people who surround me also impact me and my choices. I have met people who have changed small things about my behavior because of their life experiences. These people impacted my life positively but a lot of people have been negatively impacted by their surroundings whether it’s as simple as starting drugs or drinking due to basic peer pressure or causing them to shift their morals. The people you surround yourself with affect you subconsciously more than it does physically, the environment you put yourself in shapes your mind into how it deals with situations and choices; with enough realization and internal acceptance you can swim up current within these subconsciously set barriers.

My volleyball teammates have been the people who have most deeply affected my life. Definitely for the better but every time I see them, I acknowledge this.

I have been playing volleyball for three seasons (three years) and I have had many teammates, some of them needed to move on from volleyball or from our team to follow their paths; but, Nat, Maddy, and Leiah I have known for three years now and they have most clearly impacted my life. Maddy grew up with a single mom for most of her life and with a twin brother and a little brother. She has taught me to be grateful for everything I have. Her presence in my life has caused me to be happy in my skin and not to give a second thought about someone who doesn’t appreciate me. Leiah has taught me to always smile, she also pushes me to be a better person and volleyball player because I strive to be like her. Lastly, Nat and I started with a very poor and toxic friendship. Ironically she has taught me to push back when most uncomfortable, and then move on not to hold an unnecessary grudge when it is ultimately pointless but even though we started the most disconnected with one another I’d consider her one of the most ride-or-die people within my life. Yes, we started not seeing eye to eye but now she is one of the people I hold most dear to me.

My teammate Junior at Rancho Bernardo High, Natalie Ratkiewicz responded, “I think that playing volleyball has become a part of who I am. I have been playing since 5th grade and loved it ever since. I do, however, volleyball also causes me a lot of stress and anxiety, it makes me angry and happy, but for those who don’t know the sport, that is out of love for my teammates and my competitive nature. This team that I am on now is probably my favorite one yet. It’s quite crazy to think about how a random group of 10 girls has become my best friends. Unlike most people, I’m so excited to go to practice because I get to see my long-distance friends from other schools. I’ve never been impacted by a group so deeply and never been able to be so free-spirited and if I’m being completely truthful I prefer them over my friends at school. Not only are these my best friends, but they are also my parent’s best friends. Being a part of this team is greater than volleyball and I wouldn’t trade it for anything”. 

Another teammate of mine, a Junior at Poway High, Taylor Solo weighed in by saying, “My upbringing and environment have made me who I am today because I grew up in a competitive, yet loving and supportive home. Since I could walk, my parents have put pressure on me to play a sport and dedicate time and effort to it. Starting with my first sport, soccer. I was put into a key position on the field, goalie, and the pressure that this entailed was high. Every loss, every goal scored, every penalty kick made, always seemed to be blamed on me. This pressure put on me – the pressure of the game being in my hands – made me a strong, dedicated athlete. After games, my parents always had a list of compliments and a list of critiques that showed both their pride and frustration in my work. This feedback and support I had from them always encouraged me to do better and never give up until I am, and my parents are, satisfied with my work. Growing up with an older brother also brought about competitiveness in whatever “competition” arose. Whether it was “Who’s taller?” “Who scored the most goals in their soccer game today?” Or “who has better grades?” There was always a competition present between us. This sense of competitiveness brought about in my upbringing has made me the person I am today because no matter what I may be doing: volleyball, snowboarding, applying for a job, or maintaining good grades, I always apply the pressure I was raised with to do my best and keep trying until I succeed. The sports-oriented environment I grew up in has brought about so many traits that have made me the hard-working, passionate, and encouraging person I am today”.

Someone who I no longer play with has most clearly affected me. Her name was Sophia and I like to think she was an absolute angel brought onto this earth. She had to step away from volleyball because it started to take a toll on her mental well-being, but I like to think the universe made her play volleyball to meet her. I find myself asking myself “What would Sophia

do”, and “How would she help them”. She is the most compassionate person I know. I was not someone to “choose” to meet her but was allowed to build our friendship. 

The other seven teammates I have met in the past two years and they have pushed in a more

surface-level way. All my teammates are people who I like to compare myself to in a very healthy way. I don’t feel as if I need to compete with them but I want to be at their level. I want to be as smart as them, as confident as them, and share their morals because I genuinely think they are all amazing people. 

I wasn’t born into this world with the attributes I now have, I was influenced and molded into my morals. The people I was surrounded by heavily influenced this. 

I was a child born to play sports, I love every aspect of sports. I grew up doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, (Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a self-defense martial art and combat sport based on grappling, ground fighting, and submission holds. BJJ focuses on taking one’s opponent down to the ground, gaining a dominant position, and using several techniques to force them into submission via joint locks or chokeholds). I started doing jiu-jitsu at the age of 9 and it set my life on a completely different path in my opinion. I was recommended to try it because of my then-soon-to-be uncle. He was a black belt and he thought it was an amazing skill someone should have. This was a random element thrown into my life, but the people I met along the way taught me things I didn’t think I’d ever need. I was taught to hold my head up and be confident even when I didn’t feel like it deserved to be up. I was also weirdly comfortable within my skin knowing that I could defend myself against basically any unarmed person, man or woman. I still have that overwhelming self-confidence feeling not in my appearance or anything physical but just in the peace of mind of knowing I’m safe. 

This idea goes beyond volleyball, the idea of your upbringing and environment affecting how you are is an endless topic. I also think it’s very subjective. I asked my friend Bella Frausto, a simple and vague question asking,  

Senior at Canyon Hills Bella Frausto had a creative outlook on that question and said, “Growing up, like most kids, I despised any sort of food that was unfamiliar or too overstimulating. When you’re in the beginning years of your life you are given food and that is

what you eat, or you refuse to eat it and your parents force you to anyway. When I was younger my parents assumed I would not like exotic food or anything that wasn’t a “basic” and bland dish. This resulted in my taste buds never branching out because of the phrase “you won’t like that” constantly being said to me. I am now what most people would consider, a “picky” eater. I fully believe that because of my upbringing and the whispers of discouragement from the adults around me, I fear the unfamiliar when it comes to food and am a “picky” eater”. 

Another one of my teammates, a Junior at Scripps Ranch, Ella Fournier was asked the same question and she said, “My dad, a French-born generational baker, has been an influential person in my childhood and responsible for how I am now. He grew up with 5 siblings and worked hard for his family-owned bakery. He worked for his dad and learned the value of hard work. Once he came to America, he spoke no English and worked to earn his keep. When I was a kid, there were no excuses for being lazy or messy. He always told me his stories of what he had to do to make a life here in the US and has never let me slack off because he knows I can be successful like him if I put in the work. Being brought up with someone who has an extreme value for hard work has taught me to have a strong work ethic and made me a person who wants to do the best they can, however long it takes.”

My overall philosophy is that it starts within. A child is a moldable human, and it’s a parent’s responsibility to start that child with the responsibility they need to succeed. In this day and age having both married parents in the house is on the decline. Parents are splitting up which is definitely for the best for the two adults but shows it’s very detrimental for younger kids. Parents getting a divorce within a 17-year-old vs a 9-year-old is a very different situation and calls for a different approach. That 17-year-old is finished being molded by their parents and now is getting outside influence but that 9-year-old is still learning valuable lessons within that home and both parents. I’d like to conclude this by saying being in a situation where you feel molded into the worst version of yourself isn’t the conclusion of your story, it’s more like the plot twist in the early middle of the book which makes all the readers want to read even faster. Everyone has some kind of control over their life and can make anything they want out of it with enough grit. 

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