Written by: Brandon Imp
This is the story of transition. Get from point A to point B in two worlds - simultaneously. Physically, I must get from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. In life, I must get from an academic-focused lifestyle to a career-oriented lifestyle. HOW DO I GO ABOUT THAT? How do I transition in the real world while being practically removed from it? Agh! The challenge!
This is my plan: be awesome. The traditional, American word "awesome." Figure out what needs to be accomplished and use all of my available resources to reach that goal. My resources include, but are not limited to: my mind, my body, my parents, my sister, Cornell University, my friends, time, my story, my smile, and my lack of an oral filter. The physical goal, walking over 2,000 miles, is straight forward. Eat, sleep, walk, repeat. The life goal, transitioning from academia to a career, is complex. I set myself up with potential employment for the fall. Hopefully, that will pan out. The year after is medical school (?). I need to apply right now to be considered fro 2011 enrollment. I will need all of the above resources to accomplish this task. Let's focus on one: my story.
For an initial background, check out our "About Us" page on the website (link on the right!) The rest. I have no idea how I got to be the way I am or where I am. I moved from Illinois after 4th grade to New Jersey. For almost four years, I had few close friends. I did not understand how to branch out. I was good in school, but nothing too special (in my opinion). Then, in 8th grade, I joined theatre. It was excellent and suddenly my friendship circle expanded in all directions. High school hit and I was enrolled in all honors courses. Why? I have no idea. It just happened. I realized the classes were not as difficult as the hype said they were. Looking back, friends say I got smart in 9th grade. Whatever, I will take it. High school continued: theatre, clubs, friends, craziness. I applied to colleges and was rejected from my top three schools. What was left was Cornell University and a few others. I applied to Cornell on a whim and against my parents wishes (honestly, I did not like the other Ivy's I had visited and figured I worked too hard to deny myself a chance at an ideal Ivy education). I visited Cornell, figured it was pretty sweet, and went. I fought with the school to fix my education the way I preferred - went against the norm by entering as a non-pre-medical Biology major, internally transferred colleges, did theatre for kicks, studied abroad, and graduated early. Cornell, as it should, beat the crap out of me during sophomore year. Life continued, and I switched tracks from research to medical. Life was on the upswing, I developed a life pan, and pieces gradually fit together. Then, I graduated and left society. Here I am.
But why the Appalachian Trail? What has directed my life of strong academia and suburban glory to the mountains? Honestly, the challenge. I cannot refuse a great challenge. I am not an athlete, I am not a hiker, and I am focused on my future. Hiking the Appalachian Trail directly conflicts with each of those. So, if I complete a thru-hike, I will be more well-rounded. Right? RIGHT?
We will see.
In the mean time, I will think about chocolate pudding.