Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Canned Confidence

Name: Jon Robert Carrillo
From: San Angelo, Texas
Grade: 10
School: Central High School
Votes: 7

Growing up, in an
effort to fit in with my contemporaries, I set aside my academic
aspirations to try and become someone I wasn’t. However, at the
start of my high school career I decided to take back control of my
life and focus on the things that were important to me. After years
of taking the easy route and doing whatever my friends did, I decided
to stop being a follower and become a positive example in small
West-Texas community by volunteering.

In the beginning, the idea of going out and participating in groups I
didn’t know was daunting. Negative thoughts flooded my mind,
drowning me in a sea of nervousness and social anxiety. “What if
my friends saw me? What if they make fun of me?” I thought. Those
thoughts left me purposely filling my schedule to get away from
volunteering. But, as I matured and progressed through high school,
my classes gradually became easier allowing me to have more time for
myself. This free time gave me the opportunity to join teams,
volunteer, and participate in events that I never could before. With
a new outlook on volunteering and a whiff of confidence I signed up
to participate in my community.

I started joining
outside activities like Business Professionals of America and the
Howard College Robotics team. While participating, I worked as an
entrepreneur one day and an engineer the next. The clubs gave me the
chance to experience new things and fueled my love for learning.
However, I didn’t just look towards academic related programs for
these new experiences. I participated in church activities that
taught me public speaking skills. I volunteered at a college summer
camp as a youth director which taught me interpersonal networking and
communication skills. I even assisted my local young democrats
chapter and built team building skills. Not only did these help me in
my education but they also helped me grow and develop as a person.
Before volunteering, I was unsure of myself and my capabilities.
After volunteering however, I grew to become a confident and strong
leader in almost everything I did. Most importantly, volunteering
changed my outlook on life by showing me the power of self-assurance
which allowed me to better help others in my community.

What I found
ironic about my experience with education was that I ended up getting
more friends when I volunteered rather than when I didn’t. The
courses, clubs, and events that I participated in helped me find out
things about myself that I never knew and, in turn, helped mold me
into the person that I am now.

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