Essay from a Girl Studying in MMY for the Year

Girl Studying in MMY for the year:

High school really went by in a blur. Wow, you say, what a cliché! But when a monumental rite of passage – such as graduation – occurs, one is forced to reflect on the time passed. And I cannot believe that grade school life is over, and I am about to step off home base into the uncertainness of the future. On such an occasion, one considers priorities. Were the past years used to bring goals to fruition? Or was time wasted on trivialities?

As I ask myself these questions, I receive mixed responses. On the one hand, yes, I achieved goals. But were they the right goals? I am a very determined, ambitious person, and, as my friends so often label me, an overachiever. As a result, I approached high school with an extreme focus on schoolwork and grades. As I strived for an A on each test and stayed up all night studying, I became completely consumed by this goal. As a result, to a certain extent, I lost out on what high school had to offer: tools that could get me an A on the only test that truly matters – the test of life.

Although almost every girl in my grade is going to seminary, seminary in Israel holds a particularly special pull to me. It is an opportunity to completely devote the entire year to what I missed out on in the past. It is a chance to solidify my hashkafos, to learn Torah with a passion, to become knowledgeable in halachos and Torah and the way they apply to my everyday life.
But this realization does not change my personality. I will, God willing, continue to work hard. Yet the college I plan to attend when I get back from Israel will not accept any seminary credits. Although at first this was quite aggravating, it may truly be a bracha in disguise – that grades do not matter and the entire year will be totally devoted to actual, wholesome learning and internalizing – not just test grades. I want to feel what I learn, I want to develop a passion for it as I devote myself to it and ultimately develop my relationship with ‘ה through it. Because in this crazy, dangerous world we live in, that is a goal that will keep me alive.

Yet the bottom line is that such an experience is extremely expensive today and a huge financial strain on my family. I cannot even begin to express my sincere gratitude to the donors and to Torah LeTzion for making this dream possible and lightening the strain on my family. It is because of you that we can afford to go ahead with this. Thank you for allowing me to live this experience. Thank you for enabling me to fulfill this goal. Thank you making it possible for me to acquire the tools I will need to approach the scary, unknown future and, ultimately, the test of life.