|As part of their final exam, our 9th Grade Introduction to Literature students had one hour to write about how the Hero’s Journey, found in such texts as Homer’s The Odyssey, applies to their own lives. The Hero’s Journey outlines the dynamic process that begins with the hero’s departure from home, continues to where he confronts his true nature, and concludes when he returns home again. One of the standout essays was by Alina Chavez Pustilnik ’16.
I never considered myself to be a hero or thought of myself as more than I am. But, I am the hero of my own story. Much like Santiago from The Alchemist, who proves to be his own hero, I am going through the three stages of the hero’s journey: departure, initiation, and return. Most recently, I have been a hero in my own life by coming to TASIS.
I departed on my journey several months ago after I received the call to adventure: an email from my school’s counselor. She told me to consider going to boarding school as she thought it would be a great opportunity. As I left her office, I had so many thoughts in my head. I knew I had to leave home at some point, but I didn’t know it had to be so soon. I came home in the afternoon and told my mom about it. Like the counselor, she told me that it would be a great opportunity for me. I started considering the idea of going to boarding school, and although I was extremely scared, I agreed to it. I crossed the threshold into the unknown on August 23, 2012.
On that day, I hopped on several planes and passed many borders to get to my new home in De Nobili, where my journey would initiate. I arrived at TASIS afraid. Then my parents left to go back home to Mexico, and I was even more afraid. I had a couple of miserable weeks until I had an apotheosis: I realized that life keeps on going, and the people who love you will be there for you no matter where you are. After I gained this insight, my new life changed completely; I started living my experience to the fullest. I will forever cherish the moments I spent with my friends in the dorms, traveling, and even studying. Although I now want this experience to last forever, it has to come to an end.
Now, school is over and so is my TASIS experience. Leaving won’t be easy, but it is my time to once again hop on a plane and cross the threshold to return to my old home. I leave with my “elixir of life”: the people who love you will be there for you no matter what. I also leave with some of the most amazing and unique friendships that one can ever make. I now have to learn how to balance my old life and my new life, my old home and my new home. Even if it is not going to be easy, I know that I can do it.
By coming to TASIS, I went through a departure, initiation, and return, and I proved to myself that I am the hero in the story of my own life. I departed home scared of what my new life was going to be like. I initiated my journey by realizing that the people who love me will always be there or me. Because of this understanding my boarding school experience was the best one ever. Now, as I return to my old school, I have to learn how to live my old life while embracing a new one. I leave TASIS a new and improved version of myself. Sometimes I wonder what would become of me if I hadn’t come here.