As my sophomore year came to an end, I was granted the chance of a lifetime to travel across the country and continue advancing my studies in art. I had acquired this wonderful privilege from my art teachers at the Boston Arts Academy, who every year, as a incentive and reward, grant two rising junior students with the honor of traveling and attending The Oxbow School in Napa, California. Students are chosen at a school benchmark, mandatory for all students involved in the visual arts, and it had been my chance to prove my passion for art to my teachers. I had been working hard for the past three years to become and succeed as an art student: I was now ready to make my transition from art student to artist. For me, this would be the trip of a lifetime.
The Oxbow School is an interdisciplinary semester program for high-school students, with a mission to strengthen a student’s creative and critical thinking skills. Attending The Oxbow School would be one of the most life changing experiences for me, not only as an artist, but personally. Coming from a lower class family and supported by a single mother of two, I have always pushed myself to go above and beyond what I believe I can achieve. For me, it was a goal; I had not only dreamed of getting this once in a lifetime chance, but I wanted to make it a reality.
January 22st, my first day at Oxbow, had arrived amidst my junior year. It was time, for the first time, to leave home on my own. Not only was it the farthest I’d ever been in the United States, but it was the farthest I’d ever been alone anywhere! Arriving at The Oxbow School had been extremely nerve-wracking, but I was excited to see what the school and the people had to offer. It was a once in a lifetime chance that I was given, and I couldn’t wait to start making artwork – artwork that would ultimately define who I was. Aside from my studio arts classes, I discovered my passion for knowledge; taught by amazing teachers, learning environmental science, philosophy and literacy. I had never expected that I would learn so much by traveling to another state, another city, another school for such a wonderful experience. Considering the school was riverfront and surrounded by nature, it was ideal for an art school. Inspiration came to us from every angle: the soothing sound of the river’s current, the contemporary lofty studio spaces filled with artwork and plenty of opportunity, even the plant and animal life on campus; including the clucking chickens in the back. In retrospect, I would have to say that one of the most inspiring moments, that reocurred every evening, was sunset. Sunset, unlike any other form of inspiration, would allow me to reflect, look back at what I had done with this experience so far and what I still had to do. Sunset in Napa, California will forever be with me, and will be forever my greatest form of inspiration.
Knowing that I would be going to Oxbow for the next five months, I had promised myself that I would make this trip count, I wanted this experience to change my life. And indeed it did. Amidst my Oxbow experience, I found myself socializing with more people than I had ever expected, venturing around California in groups and with such unique people. I traveled across the country with the rest of the world alongside, finding my way around the country. I had been doing what I had dreamed of for so long. Aside from discovering a new place and new people, I was able to find myself. While at Oxbow, I was able to prove to myself that I was ready to explore the world around me. I learned from this amazing experience, that life needs to be explored just as much as earth itself; with this, I would say that one should travel as far as one needs to in order to achieve and realize their goals. It is not always where you are going that will get you the answers, but where the world takes you.
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