In my first year of middle school, I had no particular interests. I performed well in all of my subjects, and I loved playing sports. However, there wasn’t anything I was extremely passionate about, or anything I was willing to spend a lot of time on without getting bored. A few months later, a friend suggested I join the school’s Science Olympiad team with him, and I did. I wasn’t very good at first; I was only in 6th grade, competing alongside experienced 7th and 8th graders.
However, being part of the team felt amazing. I could participate in events I was interested in, such as Crime Busters, or Circuitry, and discover so much about a focused subject, in much more detail than I could ever hope to learn in a classroom. How does a lightbulb turn on? How do acids and bases react with one another, and how can one differentiate between fingerprints? All of these questions began to interest me more and more as I began to delve into the world of science and technology. My hunger to learn new things was satiated, as I had the opportunity to learn in detail about concepts like current, amperage, and capacitance, and showcase my knowledge in competitions with other peers.
Our team performed well, and we all won awards in our respective events, and as a team, won Regionals and States, and had the opportunity to go to Nationals all three of my middle school years! Being able to see peers of my age coming from across the nation having the same dedication and commitment to learning more inspired me, and solidified my yearning to continue competing, and turned my view of science from a hobby into a passion. Having supportive partners and coaches and learning about how the world works had a significant impact on my life. The fantastic introduction I received to science through science Olympiad led me to discover the hobbies that now captivate me. Through the same intensity with which I became engrossed in science, I started learning about the fundamentals of computer science through tinkering and experimenting with the Raspberry Pi, a mini computer.
It blew my mind that all of its necessities could fit into a board the size of a credit card. I started learning how to code in Python, and understanding the ways computers communicate. My defined interest in computer science led me to research topics like computer simulation and RFID technology in 7th and 8th grade, and compete in the Science Fair both years.My experience with Science Olympiad has influenced who I am today, steering me into taking challenging courses with a deep focus in science, such as advanced physics or computer science, choose extracurricular activities such as Science Bowl and continued participation in Science Olympiad in high school, and has led to my continued enthusiasm and achievements in the field of science, and has given me the opportunity to learn more than I would have without it.