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Scholar & Athlete

My life, so far: Isabel Ortiz-Gelder

Isabel Ortiz-Gelder, Adviser

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If I could somehow go back in time and give advice to my past freshman self, the only thing I’d say is to keep making mistakes. That doesn’t sound very helpful, but I think making mistakes is the only way people ever learn and grow, and I definitely made a lot of them.

The problem wasn’t the mistakes I made, but the way I treated myself when I made them. I didn’t learn how to respect my faults or embrace the person I was. Mistakes were always something I held over my head, and used to define myself.

What I didn’t realize was that, although mistakes did shape me and lead to who I am now, they didn’t define my character to its core.”

— Isabel Ortiz-Gelder

I wish I would have realized this sooner. Like a lot of people, I’m sure, I spent a lot of time not caring for myself enough, and that led to surrounding myself with the wrong people and making the wrong choices.

Something I’m proud of is actually figuring out my own comfort zone; I pulled myself out of a long, toxic relationship, lost friends, struggled through balancing school work and a social life, and eventually grew to really know myself.

Besides all of the late nights of writing last minute essays, studying for finals, or handling six different crucial assignments right before bed, the most difficult aspect was making it through as an individual, not necessarily as a student. High school may only be four years, but seeing how I and my peers have changed so drastically shows that these four years can make or break a person.

Having lived in Tracy my entire life, I’m excited for what the future has in store for me. I’m also prepared for that excitement to turn into major anxiety and stress as I realize being an adult is not all it’s made out to be.

At this point in my life though, I know what I want…for the most part. I want more freedom, but that doesn’t mean less responsibility. I plan on studying to become an esthetician and makeup artist at Cinta Aveda Institute in San Francisco. After a year of that I’ll have the opportunity to build my career.

This option allows me to be indecisive. It allows me to work in whatever area my license allows for, while still being able to write. If I ever decide I want to write a novel, I can. If I decide I want to travel for a year, I can. If I decide I want to attend a four-year college to get a degree in English, I can. If I want to build myself as a freelance photographer, I can.

Life is too short for me to just pursue one career, or one passion. I refuse to be stuck my entire life doing the same thing every day. What I want for myself is to do everything I feel driven enough to try. Success to me means more than a fat paycheck every year. While money is a necessity, and I know that, I’m okay with having enough to feel secure, without having excess, as long as the rest of my life is full.

To others this might seem risky or unstable, but that isn’t how I see it. After being in school a majority of my life, and having all this time to discover myself, I know who I am and who I want to be. And I’m okay with taking risks and making more mistakes, as long as I know I’m living as much as I can.

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My life, so far: Isabel Ortiz-Gelder