During my time as a member of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), I have had many experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. As a freshman in high school and a first year member of FBLA, I placed second in the Business Math competition and advanced to Nationals, which were being held in Chicago, Illinois. I was so excited, but worried at the same time. My father had already told me that even if I did qualify for Nationals, I wouldn’t be attending.
After a phone call with my grandmother and lots of begging, I had the go-ahead to visit the windy city with the other qualifiers from my chapter. In the months to come we had lots of planning and fundraising to do. We held a bucket auction and many bake sales in addition to our other club activities. In the end, the ten of us raised the five-thousand dollars needed to attend the conference.
The morning of our departure, my mother, father, and I packed up the car at 4:00 a. m. and headed to Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV for my flight. This was my first plane ride as well as my first trip without my parents. I received my ticket from my advisor and checked my bags. Before I knew it, it was time to say my final goodbye to my parents before I returned in six long days. I was both nervous and excited.
Following a small snack and the purchase of our soon to be traditional Cosmopolitan magazine, we boarded the plane. My seat was in the aisle, even though I found out a short time later I wasn’t old enough to sit in the aisle, so I switched with my neighbor, the other freshman on the trip. Forty-five minutes later we landed in O’Hare, which was much larger than Yeager. We retrieved our luggage and went to wait on our transportation to the Swissotel.
The Swissotel was absolutely gorgeous. My room was humongous and my roommates were amazing. Plus, I was free from my parents for six whole days. During the next few days I gained many new business skills, competed nationally against hundreds of kids, walked to Navy Pier, shopped on the magnificent mile, and toured the city by steamboat. I rode a creaky elevator to the top of the Hancock tower, the third tallest building in Chicago, and strolled through one of the city’s many rose gardens, where we just happened to run into the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. My favorite part was walking underground to get from point A to point B. I sat in right field at the legendary Wrigley Field and instantly became a Cubs fan for life. I had my first slice of Chicago-style pizza as well as my first Hard Rock burger. It was just like a dream.
The trip came to an end and I sadly had to return to small town life in West Virginia. After graduating from college, I plan on returning to the windy city to pursue my dreams. I’m going to take my business degree and make millions, after I marry a member of the Chicago Bears offense.
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