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Embracing Uncertainty: Lucile Gettman’s Journey Through Life

Returning to school after a week-long spring break signifies the beginning of the final stretch of junior year. The upcoming six weeks will be fraught with the pressure of AP tests, ACT scores, and the urgency to solidify our GPA for college applications.

This period, abruptly taken away from us, has prompted deep introspection. Mapping out my future in terms of college choices and areas of study has occupied the few remaining brain cells not consumed by exam preparation.

While the array of educational and career possibilities intrigues me, the sheer breadth of divergent paths—from marine biology to journalism, political science, and film production—leaves me feeling overwhelmed. The clock ticking on making this crucial decision adds a sense of urgency, albeit with the allure of boundless possibilities.

The more I’ve traveled in recent years, the more I’ve come to appreciate diverse cultures, cuisines, and communities. While I remain open to exploring any destination—be it by plane, boat, or car—my heart is set on countries that boast wonders of the world.

Dating back to 500 B.C., the first catalog of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” was compiled, with all but the Great Pyramid of Giza succumbing to natural calamities. Despite their demise, these sites retain ancient artifacts and remnants that bear witness to humanity’s remarkable achievements.

Subsequently, new pins have been added to the map, marking the locations of more intricate man-made marvels. In 2007, a revised list of “World Wonders” was unveiled, encompassing artifacts from different eras and regions. The UNESCO World Heritage Center has acknowledged nearly 2,000 such sites worldwide, serving as repositories of history and invaluable educational resources.

Having had the privilege of visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two of the new seven “World Wonders”—Petra in Jordan and the Colosseum in Rome—I’ve been captivated by the blend of travel, history, and learning.

Among the countries steeped in history, one stands out vividly in my memory. Last summer, traversing the labyrinthine paths amidst towering boulders to unveil the hidden realm of Petra was a transformative experience. The desert landscape, with its maroon sands and sandstone cliffs, exuded a rich historical and cultural essence that left an indelible mark on my soul.

The arduous trek of over 30,000 steps led to a surreal moment of gazing up at the ancient structure, a sanctuary from the scorching sun. The exploration of carved chambers and temples within the stone edifice provided respite akin to a natural air-conditioned chamber. Witnessing goats ambling along the cliffs added a touch of serenity to the rugged terrain.

The intricate carvings and cutouts, resembling eternal artworks on the rock canvas, offered a glimpse into the past civilizations’ craftsmanship. Despite the physical challenges faced during the journey, the enchanting allure of Petra remained undiminished.

Reflecting on past adventures like Petra fuels my passion for travel and exploration. Visiting the World Wonders and UNESCO Heritage Sites is a goal I aspire to achieve in the future, irrespective of the career path or college I eventually choose.

Lucile Gettman, a junior at John Marshall High School, embodies a spirit of curiosity and a thirst for discovery that transcends borders and cultures.