Just this past September I was forced with a very hard choice. It was probably one of the hardest choices that I had had to make so far in my life. I had won the National Hispanic Heritage Youth Award for Business in July which includes a grant, a laptop, and a trip to Miami and Washington D.C. for different ceremonies. As part of the package I was age to go on a short trip to Washington D.C. to be a part of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, which includes many Hispanic celebrities, including Antonio Banderas and Gloria Estephan, where I would be recognized on stage. I would also get to go see the white house, and meet many important people, such as celebrities and managers of different corporations. Since I had never been to Washington D.C., I was very excited to get to visit it, and see the national government that I had read so much about in my history classes. History had always been one of my favorite subjects, so the prospect of seeing an area full of it was very exciting to me. We were also going to get a meal cooked for us by renowned chef Rick Bayless, whose restaurant I have visited twice in Chicago. Being Hispanic, made me very excited to get some excellent Mexican food cooked by one of the best in the business.
The problem however was that this trip well on a Tuesday and Wednesday at the end of September. If it would have been on a weekend or even on a Friday this would not have been much of an issue to me. I am guessing though that it was in the middle of the week because of the lower cost that would incur during the week. Being a non-profit organization this is understandable. Not only did I have class both days that I would miss, but also a midterm exam on both Monday and Tuesday. In order to go on the trip I would have to take the conflict exam for the one on Tuesday, which was Computer Science. I also knew that in my anticipation of going on the trip it would be very hard for me to be able to prepare for the trip. I have enough trouble concentrating on studying for exams as it is, without the thought of getting to go on a mini-vacation during school. The problem that I encountered was that I had been very excited for this trip. Half of my excitement from winning the award had come from knowing that I would get to go on such a trip.
However, school was equally as important to me as was getting to go on the trip. As a James Scholar I have to maintain a good GPA. I also had made a promise to myself to put much more effort into my college classes then I had in my high school ones, so that finding a job in the company I wanted would not be near as challenging. With this in mind, the prospect of going on the trip and missing important class time and in the midst of two exams was not too appealing to me. I wanted to go on the trip so bad, but I knew that it probably was not a good time to go. Initially I requested a conflict exam for my computer science exam so that I could go, but after a ton of thinking, I changed my mind.
In the end I decided to stay at school and focus on my schoolwork. Looking back, that was definitely the right decision. After all that was the more important thing, regardless of the trip sounding much more fun. I ended of getting an A on my computer science midterm exam. Whether or not I would have done the same taking the conflict exam after the trip I will never know. I do know however that I got an A which is exactly what I was striving for which made not going on the trip not near as bad. As it turned out, there were actually some financial problems that we found out about at the last minute, and the organization was not able to provide lodging and was only able to offer two airline tickets instead of three like previously promised. This not only helped to solidify my decision, but also many other of the winners. In the end the opportunity cost was just too high to travel to Washington D.C. at that time. I am sure one day I will make it to Washington D.C. to see the sights. As for now, I hope that my commitment to my education will pay off with a job offer to a company that I want to work for.