If I look outside, through the windows, I can see thick flakes of snow billowing down and coating everything in sight; I wrap my blanket tightly around me. Sometimes it seems as if I live in the Himalayan Mountains rather than Nebraska. But then again, perhaps my dream that I’m secretly nestled in a hidden dwelling somewhere high up in the untouched mountain ranges, belies major part of me. I’ve always been somewhat of a dreamer. Sometimes as a kid I swam to the murky depths of a swimming pool and looked up at the sun rays beaming down, convinced that I was a mermaid. But now that I’ve grown up a bit, my dreams no longer overrun my life. Instead, they goad me along, encouraging me to passionately engage every challenge I face, and to actively pursue any and all opportunities in my education, and my life. I can recall the exact moment when my mentality shifted from uninterrupted fantasy, to meaningful aspiration, though it took me a while to realize its resonating significance.The experience I’m referring to was not during my high school years, or even my time in middle school. Instead, I, a tremendously impressionable first grader, realized quite suddenly my own independent way of thinking and the importance of remaining true to myself after one day in class. I nearly bounced out of my chair with anticipation that day, filled with youthful excitement because today was my day to lead the class inthe Pledge of Allegiance. To my absolute horror, however, I watched my teacher look me straight in the eyes, shake her head, and call another student to my rightful place.My heart sank as I began to protest, but despite my efforts I soon realized that I would never get to lead the Pledge. While this experience on its own may not seem so painful, or influential, I struggled almost daily with this teacher unfathomable hatred for me. I always knew that I was different from the other students in the class, but never in a way that seemed worthy.