By Matthew Kopren
By Matthew Kopren
When I lived in Italy when i younger I used to have a really hard time getting off my parents bed. The top of my parents bed was around four feet off the ground and the floor was made out of granite in the apartment that we were living in. One day my parents sat me down and taught me how to slide off the bed. This was a big physical as well cognitive (problem solving) accomplishment for me. I then used this knowledge of sliding down stuff in many other places, like the stairs for example.
This was an important physical achievement for me and was also became a hobby for the rest of my life. Although i learned how to ride on a cliff side and was scared out of my mind during the time, I have very fond feelings attached to this memory. I still go out almost everyday in the summer to ride my bike around for at least one hour.
This is when I first began my interest in music. Music is currently a big part of my life with me being a part of many church bands, co-curricular bands at school, as well as a band called chasing reverb I made with my friends. I believe since piano was my first instrument I learned how to play, this laid the foundation for the rest of my music career.
This was the first sport I got really involved in. I spent about 8 years playing basketball which all started when I first joined the EAA team in first grade. This event helped to develop me physically as well as socially through the new group of friends/people I was exposed too.
iI received my first video game console, the Super Nintendo, when I was in second grade. This Super Nintendo created many good moments throughout the years. I believe this helped to develop me socially because I would never play on this console unless someone else was playing with me.
This is when I first got into band at school. This was a very long process for me because at the time I was never good at playing any instrument. But after practicing for many hours, I managed to achieve second to last chair and make it in as a percussionist in the fifth grade band. This may have developed me cognitively because of the new parts of my brain that I had to develop in order to become a percussionist, like multitasking (counting rest, focusing on director, and moving arms and legs independently all at the same time.)
This event was very important to me because it developed me physically. Also because this event opened me up to a new activity that I could spend doing with my friends and family and through this brought me closer to many people.
Around my birthday I received my first pet. This was a very positive experience for me because it taught me dedication and responsibility.
During the seventh grade, I started to branch out to many new people, because a lot of my old friends were either in different classes than me or had moved away. This event lead to me increasing my social skills, developing the set of friends that i currently have, as well as actually improving the total of number of friends I had by quite a bit.
My mom wanted to eat our pet turtle, which ironically was named cookie. This was a very emotionally scarring event. We gave our pet turtle away out of its own safety. i would rather not dwell on this event much longer.
This was a major bonding experience with me and many of my friends. Although I was originally against the idea, but I joined and had a lot of fun. This event developed me physically as well as socially.
I started UMTYMP in the fall of eighth grade. This was by far the hardest course I had ever taken and still is. This developed me quite a bit cognitively and forced me for the first time to actually work to get a good grade.
This was the year that I achieved first hair in band. This was a really important achievement for me because I always was last or second to last chair, but through hard work I made it to the top.
I received my first car at this time. This opened up a lot of opportunities for me and started to make me become much more independent.
During my trip to Korea, i was exposed to a new culture and learned much about my heritage that I didn't already know. in addition I learned a lot about problem solving because my cousins were always fighting during this trip and I was appointed by the parents to act as a peacekeeper and keep them both in line. Social Skills +1.
Right after our trip from Korea my dad and I were home alone while my sister and mom were still back in Korea. During this time my dad found out he had a false lumen in his aorta and within an hour was prepped to go into open heart surgery. This was hard time for me because I was alone in hard situation with no family to support me. I developed socially and mentally from this event.
During this time I built a dock and a boat in my friends pond in his backyard. Since me and several other friends were working on this project almost every single day for a whole month together, we became and much closer and had a great time. Social Skills +2.
I learned so many things on this trip it is hard to put it all into writing let alone a short paragraph. Spending my time with these people from these destitute communities and impoverished country really changed my perspective on life, values, and people. Cognitive and Social Skills increased.
This event just like when I received my own car opened up many more opportunities for me. I became more independent and started to become more self reliant, slowly progressing away from the constant care of my parents.