Sometimes, in life, it is best to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It sometimes becomes easy to lose the true essence of “me” with all the demands and responsibilities that life can place on a person. Whether it is a father trying to balance family, a job, and meals, or a student balancing clubs, community service, school, and friends, many of us often forget about the time for self-exploration and the “me” piece of ourselves. Looking back at freshman year, my life seemed like the interior of a Costco warehouse, vibrant and bustling with people and unexplored aisles of goods. I was just another young soul looking forward to approaching new challenges and people. By then, I had already shaped the type of student I wanted to be: an active club member, a leader in the academic community who is committed to my volunteer work, job and internship. As the years passed by, I proudly accomplished each goal on my list, but a thought ran across my mind: am I forgetting something? Sleep, friends, downtime… I thought to myself, “No one needs those.” In the end, I came to the realization that those were the essential pieces of myself lacking from my list. In this busy life portrait of mine, my extracurriculars and responsibilities became the artist and I became the stroke of paint getting stretched too narrow. I felt over-committed and ineffective. I knew that I would need to regain control to balance the colors in my portrait. By the end of sophomore year, I had felt the need to scrap my old canvas and start anew. With a clean canvas in my junior year, I began choosing the palettes of my interest and taking on new leadership challenges that I had never faced before. I partook in clubs geared for my interests and choose volunteer work that I truly enjoyed. With a less obscure canvas, there was so much more focus and time for the “me” to unfold and come to light. Newfound talents and qualities became an important part of my high school experience and I was passionate about all my interests, clubs, and activities which made my active participation much more effective. Taking a step back and viewing the big picture taught me to make decisions that were best for me and not for others. Sometimes, by selecting the colors of our own canvas more carefully, we can take a step forward toward defining the unexplored “me” part of ourselves.